By Olimatou Coker
Maa Foundation for Women (MFM) in collaboration with Senegalo-Gambian Network of Entrepreneurs and Leaders, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, recently held a day-long training for over 100 women entrepreneurs on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) at a local hotel.
The training was funded by the UNDP as part of its support to entrepreneurship and private sector development.
Mariama Adu Lette Sy, the president of the Senegalo-Gambian network, said there mission is to contribute to the development of The Gambia through the principles of equality, equity, inclusiveness, protecting the rights of women and children and the integration and protection of vulnerable and excluded groups including people living with disability through appropriate policies, strategies and adequate resources.
Madam Sey, added that sustainable economic and social development of the country requires full participation of women, men, girls and boys. She noted that The Gambia has committed herself to international instruments aimed at promoting and supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“As part of the key programme interventions for women social and economic empowerment, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare applauds the MFW for championing this initiative towards complimenting government’s efforts. The ministry will continue to enhance women’s economic empowerment. In addition, the ministry with support from UNCDF is in the process of creating a digital app for women where women can access information related to financial literacy, Women Enterprise fund, and market among others.
“The ministry also has a representative in the Women’s Business Advocacy Group that we are working hand in glove to push for the agenda of ?women in business among which include advocating Gender Responsive Public Procurement policy for 30 percent public procurement.”
Neneh Touray from the ministry of Gender, intimated that although there has been significant national development in recent years, there is a need for closing the gender gap.
Aziz Balla Gaye of the trade ministry said the purpose of the workshop was to enhance knowledge of different women groups so that they can work closely with the government to reposition the Gambia to take advantage of the trade opportunities created under Ecowas and AfCFTA.
“The AfCFTA can enhance employment and business opportunities for The Gambia’s growing population and diaspora. The AfCFTA Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right to Residence and Right to Establishment provides The Gambia’s growing population and diaspora the opportunity to solicit employment or conduct business across all AfCFTA members. The AfCFTA’s general and specific objectives are aligned with and reinforce The Gambia’s national and regional priorities.”
Fatou Jawara Dukureh, the CEO of Maa Foundation for Women, said as a foundation that advocates for and support rights of women, they intend to continue supporting women initiatives that empower women most especially those in entrepreneurship in a bid for to help them to have a better understanding of the AFCFTA.