The Federation of National Association of Women in Business (FEMCOM) has launched the Sudanese Business Women Secretariat as the FEMCOM National Chapter. This is intended to champion the improvement of economic conditions of women in COMESA Member States.

The Sudanese National Chapter will work closely with FEMCOM Secretariat to facilitate and create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs to thrive within Sudan and in COMESA region.

The Minister of Trade of Sudan Hon. Elsadig Mohamed appreciated the efforts made by COMESA in empowering women and enabling them to contribute to socio and economic transformation and sustainable growth.

“It goes without saying that it is impossible to implement effective programmes for rural transformation without involvement of women entrepreneurs,” Hon Mohamed said in a statement presented by the COMESA Desk Officer Mr Mohammed Ali at the launch of the national Chapter and rebranding of its offices in Khartoum.

The Minister said that in 2012 Sudan’s total exports to the COMESA region was valued at US$ 481.9 Million representing a share of 6.4% of total COMESA intra-regional exports. Imports were valued at US$796.1 Million representing 9.7 % of total intra-COMESA imports. This excluded the informal trade across the borders that currently goes largely.

“These figures indicate that there is still an opportunity for Sudan to explore the huge COMESA market which has a consumer population of 490 million of which more than 50% are women. We must utilize this potential,” he added.

Hon. Mohamed said there was need to address some socio-economic, structural and legal constraints that affect the growth of business.

“Going forward, I urge the leadership of Sudanese Business Women to work closely with Ministry of Trade, other Government Ministries, private sector on some of these challenges,” he said.

FEMCOM Chief Executive Officer Mrs. Katherine Ichoya said the Chapter will ensure that women in Sudan are encouraged to setup their own businesses. This will ultimately promote the existing businesses through facilitation of training, lending facilities, market research and investment opportunities.

Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and Secretary General of the Sudanese Businessmen and Employers Federation, Mr Samir Ahamed Gasim described the launch as a big day for Sudanese women who are very active and have a big share of contribution to the economy.

“This office is very important for the service improvement and upgrading of the women through training and value addition to their business,” he said.

The rebranded office will also help in the promotion and expansion of existing enterprises through facilitation of training, providing lending facilities, market research and investment opportunities.