Essence festival focuses on empowering female entrepreneurs

By Dhivana Rajgopaul Time of article published Sep 28, 2017

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DURBAN - The Essence Festival hosted the Women Economic Empowerment event that highlighted the importance of females in business and female entrepreneurship. 

The main speakers for the event were former African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Rev. Al Sharpton. 

The other speakers on the programme was the Durban ICC CEO Lindiwe Rakharebe and Durban Mayor Zandile Gumede. There was also two panel discussions that spoke about the challenges that women face in the business sector. 

Dlamini-Zuma said that she was pleased to speak at the Women’s Economic Empowerment Engagement and highlighted the need of women in the business industry. 

The year 2015 marked 20 years since the Beijing’s Women's Conference about female equality. The research done by the the UN Women reviewing process indicated progress since 1995.
However if we carry on at the same pace women will only reach equality in the next 70 years. 

The former AU chairperson also spoke about the need for a skills revolution that would help women and young people to unlock their potential. 

She further added that there was a need for women in the following sectors: Bluetime maritime economy including working in port management or logistics, the financial sector where there need to be financial inclusion for women and the formation of women's banks and government, private and public procurement to empower the youth and women SMME's along the value chains of businesses.

She also said that women should use their power as consumers to support each other and use consumer power to push for the empowerment of female entrepreneurs.

Another issue that was discussed was the relationship created between the cities of Durban and New Orleans through the Essence Festival and how it could create pathways for trade and exchange between them. People within the black diaspora should build relationships and alliances. 

Under the theme of "Firing with African Inspiration" at the Essence Festival Dlamini Zuma said that if women are not in the driving seat then issues like unemployment, poverty and inequality will not be successfully tackled.


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