The COMESA National Federation of National Associations of Women in Business (FEMCOM) Chapter in DR Congo has embarked on a $2,300,000 project to support women in business. Among the businesses earmarked include production and marketing of local fresh foods and smoked foods, fruits and vegetables. Others are value-added agricultural products and those involved in the textiles and handicrafts industry.
This was contained in a project document presented to DR Congo President H.E. Félix Tshisekedi by the Chairperson of the FEMCOM DR Congo Chapter Mrs. Eliane Munkeni Kiekie. The president was visiting the Saturday Market at the FEMCOM Pavilion in Kinshasa on 20 June 2020.
President Tshisekedi promised to get stakeholders to partner with the FEMCOM Chapter to specifically develop three categories in the agri-businesses. These are: fresh fruits and vegetables; fresh food, meat, fish and poultry and processed agricultural products. Additionally, the Pavilion will accommodate a location for sanitation products, textiles and handicrafts.
The President emphasized that his country is ready to support the women entrepreneurs to grow into multinationals given that they account for the larger part of the population in the country.
“My government shall always put women businesses first because when you run businesses, we know that the money will be put to good use which will benefit the families and the national economy,” the President said adding that empowered women benefits the country starting from the family level.
The President called on the women in business to upgrade the quality of the products especially in packaging for the market as this will add value to the cost of purchasing the commodities.
He also emphasized on the need to strengthen capacity in specific management tools and techniques of production. Value addition, he stressed, will not only put the product on the international market but will also create the much-needed jobs for the youth and women in the country adding that this will give the Congolese woman autonomy.
On behalf of the FEMCOM DR Congo Chapter, Chairperson, Mrs. Kiekie appreciated the high-level visitation by the President describing it as a milestone in the development of women-run businesses in the country.
“We are so happy to see that you have come to visit our Pavilion as a symbol of support towards our ideals and goals to uplift, promote and serve women in business in DR Congo under the FEMCOM umbrella” she said.
She added that once implemented, the project will benefit many as there is at least one woman in each household who will be able to take advantage of the Pavilion as an owner or as an employee in the market within the community.
Further, she said that FEMCOM members will ensure the women operate their businesses in a safe, profitable, professional and sustainable manner once the funding is mobilized.
“The DRC FEMCOM Pavilion will be an example to replicate for the other FEMCOM chapters and African women entrepreneurs,” Mrs. Kiekie said.
Accompanying the President were the first lady and the Ministers responsible for Gender and Foreign Affairs.