The 50 Million African Women Speak (50MAWSP) platform was on Tuesday 25 August unveiled in Seychelles with the country’s President His Excellency Danny Faure urging women to seize the opportunities it will present them to do business. The launch was the first in a COMESA Member State since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and was held through a hybrid arrangement where a limited number of local participants gathered physically and were joined virtually by several invited guests.
COMESA’s high-profile participants at the event were led by Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe, Assistant Secretaries General Amb. Dr. Kipyego Cheluget and Dr. Dev Haman as well as other officials from the Secretariat and Member States.
During the event, speaker after speaker emphasized the need for women to embrace digital approaches as one of the ways to ensure their businesses survive during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. While making his official launch address, President Faure lauded the strong bond Seychelles enjoys with COMESA, noting that the launch of the 50MAWSP platform was “yet another example of the results of our strong relationship.”
He made a case for closer collaboration at Member State level as well as among businesspeople in the region and reaffirmed the importance of digital platforms such as 50MAWSP in making this possible.
The 50 Million African Women Speak platform comes at a time when the world needs to come together more now than ever before, following the economic and social disruption caused by COVID-19,” President Faure said.
“Seychelles is grateful to COMESA and the African Development Bank for this investment. I am convinced that this will benefit many families and enable them to overcome the challenges they face. I encourage all women to sign in to www.womenconnect.org to do your part to support our families, our economy and come together for Seychelles”. He added
On her part, Secretary General Kapwepwe commended the Government of Seychelles for its support which ensured the successful implementation of the 50 Million African Women Speak Project, and observed that the digital platform would give women in Seychelles an opportunity for a fresh start despite the devastation by the pandemic.
“The thousands of women who have already signed up to the platform have quickly found value in the various knowledge groups that connect women entrepreneurs based on their specific interests, which range from the pursuit of digital marketing skills to fashion and photography.
A tour around the platform is indeed an instant reminder that COVID-19 is not the end of the road for women entrepreneurs in Seychelles, it is only the beginning of life on the 50 Million African Women Speak platform,” she said.
She also thanked the funding partner, African Development Bank for the financial support which has made the 50 Million African Women Speak Project possible in 36 countries across the COMESA, EAC and ECOWAS regional blocs.
The 50MAWS platform aims to facilitate a dynamic and engaging exchange of ideas among women entrepreneurs, using in-built social media functionality to connect them with one another in ways that will foster peer-to-peer learning, mentoring and the sharing of information and knowledge within communities, and access to financial services and market opportunities between urban and rural areas, and across borders and between countries.
Following the launch in Seychelles, launch events in 13 COMESA Member States are planned and the next launch is scheduled for 3 September 2020 in Zimbabwe.