The International Trade Centre (ITC) will on Monday launch the Zambia chapter of the SheTrades initiative. Photo: African News Agency (ANA)

LUSAKA - The International Trade Centre (ITC) will on Monday launch the Zambia chapter of the SheTrades initiative in a drive to connect more of the country’s women-owned businesses to international markets. 

The SheTrades initiative aims to connect three million women to market by 2021 and rallies stakeholders around the world to work together on seven actions to address trade barriers and create greater opportunities for women entrepreneurs. 

SheTrades Zambia aims to spur economic growth and job creation for local women-owned businesses by expanding their role in the local and regional economy as well as in international trade. 

Working with national and international partners, women entrepreneurs in Zambia will have the opportunity to improve their competency through tailored in-person and online training workshops, and mentoring sessions. The initiative will also conduct a data-mapping survey on women entrepreneurs to identify their specific needs.

Arancha González, ITC executive director, said women entrepreneurs in Zambia had tremendous potential to be drivers of growth. 

"With SheTrades Zambia we will work in partnership with the government, the business community and with the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) to better identify what these women need to improve their competitiveness and take their businesses to the global marketplace," González said. 

SheTrades Zambia will work alongside the country’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to ensure activities are in line with the country’s national development strategies.

Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma said: "We can empower our women entrepreneurs by leveraging multilateral partnerships and linking export ready women entrepreneurs to buyers, partners and investors across the globe." 

Annette Ssemuwemba, EIF deputy executive director said access to local, regional and global markets can have a life-changing effect on women and their families from the resulting reduction in poverty and income increases. 

To further address challenges women entrepreneurs face, Stanbic Bank Zambia will be partnering with SheTrades Zambia to address gender-specific challenges hampering expansion and business growth. 

The bank will strengthen its offering to women entrepreneurs including by providing easier access to finance, facilitating training workshops on financial literacy, and providing assistance to ensure exposure for women Zambian entrepreneurs at international trade fairs.

- African News Agency (ANA)