More than 20,000 women traders from across East Africa will be benefit from a new platform that seeks to link them with the markets for their products.
The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), Canada and Trademark Africa joint initiative will be undertaken through iSOKO, a platform designed to support women traders in accessing information and selling their produce.
Obstacles ranging from limited access to credit facilities, labour and skill gaps, exclusion from key networks, as well as social and legal constraints often hit women.
According to TradeMark Africa chief of programmes, Allen Asiimwe, women will now be able to identify the regions their markets are based to enable them make better business decisions.
“So far we have reached 3,700 traders who have signed up but we look to reach 20,000 traders across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi being the first pilot by December of 2023,” said Asiimwe.
However, the platform is yet to include a currency or mode of payment that cuts across the countries.
The Secretary of Trade, in the Ministry of Trade, investments and Industry, Bruno Linyiru said Kenyan women traders face a number of challenges in accessing markets.
These include lack of real time information on market prices, demand and supply, and struggle to connect with potential buyers, which the app has been designed to address and make it easier for women traders to market and sell their produce.
“We believe that this app will have a significant impact on the lives of women traders, by increasing their income, improving their bargaining power and promoting their economic independence,” said Linyiru.
In Kenya, women make about 52 percent of the country’s population and about 30 percent of registered businesses are women-owned.
Even more importantly, women own and lead roughly 30 percent of all SMEs in the world, and SMEs account for 70 percent of employment worldwide.
One third of registered SMEs globally are estimated to have been created by women, with close to 100 million women running established businesses, a study by Forbes indicates.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.