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An online networking platform to help women access financial information

East Africa Community has established a project aimed at empowering women across 38 African countries through the provision of an online networking platform to access information on financial and non-financial services.
Together with the media and representatives in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs in Kenya, EAC delegates have Thursday met to discuss how the 50million African Women Speak Networking Platform Project (50MAWSP) is contributing towards the socio-economic empowerment of African Women.
According to Director State Department of Gender Affairs James Sangori, the project aims at uplifting women and youth who mostly face financial shortages and could not access the normal financial institutions due to the stringent documents required.
“This project whose budget is Sh1.4 billion will go a long way in creating many opportunities. Through this programme, when the government completes the merger of the three funds which are Uwezo fund, youth enterprise development fund and women enterprise fund the information about the project and opportunities will be available for the women,” Sangori.
He further stated that they were planning to involve the Ministries of Trade, ICT and Agriculture together with county governments through an intergovernmental committee to help in the successful implementation of the project.
EAC Deputy Secretary General (DSG) Productive and Social Sectors Christophe Bazivamo said that the project intends to avail maximum information so that women could link together in Africa to ease their businesses and ensure that they were working together.
“Empowering women is actually mandatory therefore individual countries should cooperate towards the achievement of this. EAC purposes to uplift women economically as per article 121 1nd 122 of EAC treaty Provisions for Women in Socio Economic Development and Women in Business and towards the achievement of United Nations Standard Development goals,” Bazivamo said.
EAC project coordinator Wilson Munyezi noted that the objectives of the meeting were to consult with media houses on how best to launch the platform at national, regional and continental level with maximum coverage and to dialogue on how to forge partnerships with media houses on promoting the visibility and publicity of the platform and raising awareness.
Munyezi reiterated that the project purposed to address the challenges faced by women in Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which included limited access to financial services, lack of important business networks and limited access to information on markets.
“The 50MAWSP targets 500 million women out of the 950 million people in the targeted 38 African countries and will build on the popularity, flexibility and efficiency of mobile technologies in order to reduce the burden of learning and accessing information and services,” he added.
The platform is set to connect women with one another in ways that will foster peer-to-peer learning, mentoring, information sharing, and access to trade finance and market opportunities between urban and rural areas and across borders.
The 50MAWSP is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the project targets 50 million women in business and is implemented by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), EAC and Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS).
By Angelina Mutindi /Philly Opere

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