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The 50 Million African Women Speak project was launched in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a two-day workshop held on 11-12 October 2018 in Kinshasa. The project’s will be accessed through electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, computers, laptops, iPads and other communication devices.

Women entrepreneurs in DR Congo and the region will now use the platform to access information and linkages to business services, training and market opportunities.

Senior government officials including the Minister of Justice, Alexis Thambwe Mwamba, the Minister of Gender, Child and Family, Chantal Safou Lopus, the Secretary General for the Ministry of Regional Integration, Zacharie Tshimbinda  Bilolo as well as the Secretary General for the ministry of Gender, Adrienne Binuana engaged with COMESA event. They expressed the government’s commitment to ensure the successful implementation of this women empowerment project.

Speaking during the project launch, Minister Lopus, who is also the current President of the Specialized Technical Committee of the African Union on the empowerment of women and gender equality, expressed her gratitude to COMESA and the African Development Bank, for prioritizing women empowerment initiatives. The three years project is funded by the AfDB.

The Minister said: “We have a critical role to play in the development of our economies. That is why the late former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”

COMESA Senior Gender Mainstreaming Officer, Mekia Mohamed Redi, explained the role of the Project to the hosts.

“The Platform is unique and will build a community of existing and potential women entrepreneurs who will act as peers, mentors and advisors to each other,” she said. “It will enable women entrepreneurs to network with one another and with mentors to support the overall goal of enhanced financial inclusion of women, leading ultimately to increased economic activity in the region.”

DRC has successfully set up a Country Team which will oversee the project implementation at national Level. The team, will be headed by the Ministry of Gender, Child and Family. It will be made up of institutions from the Public Sector (Ministries responsible for Commerce, Regional Integration and Agriculture), Private (New Chamber of Commerce, Association of Women Entrepreneurs) Civic Societies (CONFED, CAFCO and Afia Mama) and the Financial Institutions (FINCA and Afriland First Back).