What opportunities does the AfCTA hold for women?

ACCORDING to the African Union chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will help advance the empowerment of Africa’s women, by improving women’s access to trade opportunities which will in turn facilitate economic freedom for women, and expand the productive capacities of countries.

GUEST COLUMN BY FEMPRENEURS AFRICA

“To support this, we must strengthen women’s participation in the continental economy by ensuring there is greater public procurement earmarked for women-owned businesses. We must ensure that there is sufficient support given to women-owned SMMEs and co-operatives in both local and regional economies” emphasised chairperson Ramaphosa during a virtual meeting of the 13th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on the AfCFTA, held on Saturday 5 December 2020.

What exactly is the AfCFTA?

The fifty-five member States of the Africa Union (AU) are establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to create a single continent-wide market for goods and services and to promote the movement of capital and natural persons. Fifty-four countries in Africa out of the 55 have so far signed and agreed to merge their national markets into one global market for the benefit of all businesses in Africa. This means that there is now a market of 1,3 billion people for your business as compared to the current 14 million in Zimbabwe. For a Zimbabwean business this means you have almost one million times more customers to work with. Goodbye local currency challenges, goodbye local price instability, hallo forex and stable pricing!

How can women benefit from this practically?

For women to benefit from this AfCFTA, women in business need to be highly visible on the internet. This is because an estimated 13,5% of Africans have access to the internet. That is over 175 million people here in Africa who can easily find your business, as long as it is present on the internet. Fempreneurs has come up with a solution that will meet the needs of all African women in this regard.

The 2021 Fempreneurs Africa Business Directory

The 2021 Fempreneurs Africa Business Directory is a compilation of all African women-owned businesses.
The idea is the brainchild of a team of female consultants in Harare and was started last year on a small scale covering Zimbabwean female owned businesses. The current version may be found on http://entrepreneurs.co.zw/directory/business-directory/. The idea was to put all female-owned businesses on one platform so that organisations seeking to deal with female-owned businesses can easily locate them and work with them.

It contains the name of the business, the description of the business and contact details. As stated by President Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the thrusts of the AfCFTA is to push for women-owned businesses to be awarded more business opportunities.

How much better positioned can a female-owned business be than by being listed in such a publication, a one-stop shop for all woman-run entities.

This year, the business directory will be even bigger and better because it will, in addition to the information presented last year, have a logo and a location for the business.

Furthermore, instead of making all the business entries identical, there will be an opportunity for big businesses to take up more space and thus include things like flyers on their directory entry.

The MSMEs will be listed as classified entries (description only), the small companies will have quarter page size entries, the medium-size companies will take up half page entries and the large corporates can have a full page.

The 2021 Fempreneurs Business Directory will be placed in the hands of strategic decision-makers at NGOs, government ministries, listed companies, parastatals and embassies. This will be in addition to the hundreds of thousands of individual recipients and business owners who will be able to download the directory from our website and can receive it via email on request. The directory will be promoted via public media such as newspapers, radio, billboards and documentaries on television.

The team at Fempreneurs Africa believes that through this listing, women throughout Africa will have an opportunity to network and find each other, and take advantage of business opportunities created by the AfCFTA.

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