Egypt welcomes 50 Million African Women Speak Networking Platform

Egypt   became   the   latest    country to       formally       commence       the implementation   of   the   50   Million African Women Speak Project (50MAWSP) on 21 August 2019, joining over 30 other states across the continent on an initiative to empower women  entrepreneurs through a digital networking platform.

The launch of the 50 Million African Women   Speak   Project   in   Egypt   took place  in  Cairo  adding.  The project  aims at supporting African women in business through a platform which will provide easier access to information on financial and  non-financial  services,  and  in  turn help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

It is a venture which is funded by the African Development Bank and is being jointly undertaken by three regional economic communities namely the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); East African Community (EAC)    and;   Economic   Community   of West African States (ECOWAS), with a combined membership of 38 countries.

Presiding over the launch, the Board Chair of the Egyptian Women Council Amb. Mona Omar lauded the transformative potential of the project.

“Let me point out that the project has the potential to transform the role of women entrepreneurs in Egypt and Africa at large,” Amb. Omar said.

“We all agree that women play a critical role in the social economic development of our economies despite the numerous challenges, some  gender specific, that they encounter,” she added, and explained that the 50 Million African Women Speak digital  platform  will  be one way to overcome these challenges.

Studies  have  shown  that  Africa  has a thriving start-up community with dynamic women entrepreneurs targeting new opportunities  in sectors such as agriculture. One study has shown  that  Egyptian  women  account for at least 10% of all micro and small enterprises  in the country. In addition, the  African   Economic  Outlook 2017 also revealed that women in Africa are twice  more  likely  to  start  a  business than women elsewhere in the world.

The COMESA Director for Gender and Social Affairs Mrs. Beatrice Hamusonde who led the COMESA delegation at the launch explained that the platform development was now complete. The next  step  was  updating  the  platform with content for the benefit of women entrepreneurs  in  the  countries  where the platform will be operational.

“Women  entrepreneurs  in  Egypt  and the  region   will  use  the  platform  to access information and linkages to business services, training and market opportunities,” Mrs. Hamusonde stated.

“The   platform   will   build   a  community of existing and potential women entrepreneurs who will act as peers, mentors   and   advisors   to   each   other. This will allow women to share lessons, success stories as well as conduct business   online   with   counterparts   in Africa and beyond”.

In a brief courtesy call, which preceded the official launch, Egyptian Minister of Trade and  Industry  HE  Amr  Nassar  affirmed his country’s commitment to the Project, stating: “I am a strong believer in the use of digital platforms to empower women.”

When complete, the platform aims at connecting at least 50 million women across the African continent, providing information to help them grow their businesses as well as giving them opportunities to connect through a variety of networking features.

The launch of the project implementation team in Egypt is the second such activity in the COMESA Member States this year. A similar launch was done in Eritrea at the end of June. Similar launches are in the pipeline for Libya and Tunisia.

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