Addis Ababa, Thursday, March 18, 2021: Ethiopian President Her Excellency Sahle-Worke Zewde on Thursday 18 March launched the 50 Million African Women Speak (50MAWSP) platform in Addis Ababa with a call on the country’s women to embrace it and use it to grow their businesses.
Ethiopia became the thirteenth COMESA Member State to officially unveil the platform, which is an information and networking hub for women providing them with resources to start, grow and scale up their businesses and to access financial and non-financial services.
“The platform will contribute to uplifting women economically,” President Zewde said. She challenged Ethiopian women to use the platform to collaborate with each other, and challenged the implementing institution, Ministry of Women, Children and Youth, as well as other stakeholders to “work hard to take the platform to the intended beneficiaries”.
She commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) and COMESA for their financial and technical support respectively.
The launch event was graced by high-profile guests, among them the Minister for Women, Children and Youth, Hon. Filsan Abdulahi, State Ministers and senior government officials. COMESA’s high-level representation at the event was led by Secretary General Her Excellency Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, who hailed the platform as an initiative that will contribute to eliminating barriers that women face in the social and economic spheres.
“Making this platform available and accessible in Ethiopia today will empower existing and aspiring women entrepreneurs to run their enterprises in a digital environment which allows them to circumvent the barriers imposed by the pandemic,” HE Kapwepwe said.
“This will no doubt enhance their chances of success at what they do, ultimately make a meaningful contribution to their livelihoods of their families, and their communities.”
Dr. Abdul Kamara, the AfDB country representative for Ethiopia reiterated the Bank’s commitment to supporting initiatives to improve women’s economic fortunes.
The 50MAWS platform is jointly implemented by COMESA, the East African Community (EAC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Funded by AfDB, it enables women in 38 countries in the three regional blocs to find information on how to run businesses, where to access financial services, how to create business opportunities online and where to access training resources, among others.
In the COMESA region, the platform has also been launched in Zambia, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Eswatini, DR Congo, Egypt, Djibouti, Tunisia, Mauritius, Malawi and Sudan.