Professionals within COMESA member states are set to receive capacity building training on gender mainstreaming following the decision by the Council of Ministers on engaging the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to re-run the training on Trade and Gender.

Gender mainstreaming in policies, programs, projects, strategies, monitoring and evaluation strengthens inclusive and sustainable development. In COMESA, gender is not adequately addressed in trade, transport, agriculture, industry, private sector development, governance, energy, communication, statistics and knowledge management, finance, environment policy, programs, projects, strategies and reporting.

To enhance and create awareness on the importance of gender mainstreaming, the Secretariat trained 30 professionals from six Member States in 2017, namely Comoros; Djibouti, D. R. Congo; Eritrea; Malawi and Madagascar. In addition, the Secretariat also partnered with UNCTAD and trained 73 professionals on Trade and Gender. Among the 73 participants, 47 were from Member States (Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe), 23 from COMESA Secretariat and 3 from UNCTAD and FAO. Of the 73 who were trained, 50 successfully completed the course.

The training was preceded by the development of a COMESA Module on Trade and Gender. The COMESA Training Module on Trade and Gender Linkages – An Analysis of COMESA is the Fourth Module of the UNCTAD Trade and Gender Teaching Materials. The First Module is on the Trade and Gender Debate - Concepts, Definitions and Analytical Frameworks. The Second Module is on the Effects of Trade on Women’s well-being and Economic Empowerment – Evidence and Research Methodologies. The Third Module is on Gender-based Inequalities and Trade Performance.

The Council commended UNCTAD for collaborating with COMESA Secretariat on the development of the COMESA module on Trade and Gender, and on the successful implementation of the on-line course on Trade and Gender for professionals. The previous training was conducted in English and the Council urged Secretariat to request UNCTAD to also consider delivering the course in French.