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Watch Out for the Exclusion of the Vulnerable from International Trade Benefits

Image:Courtesy of Women of Africa Arise

Numerous research has espoused how inequality in Africa has been the source of lack of economic growth. In Africa women provide most of the labour in the region although this contribution pales into oblivion because the women lack the education and have no equal access to factors of production like land The Continental Free Trade Agreement is effective on the 1st of July and it is premised on the inclusivity of the marginalized for it to be a success.

Globalization, specifically international trade plays a significant role in wealth creation and bolstering weak economies to be resilient and strong. In Africa MSMEs and women in the informal sector are the major contributors of countries GDP although largely this is undocumented.

In 2017 ,the unprecedented global wealth was created through international trade however the wealth created was only for 1% of the population while the 99% continued to wallow in poverty (

The majority of the 99% comprise women and youth.

It is against such observations that trade policies emanating from Trade Agreements must be gender sensitive as trade liberalization may indeed perpetuate inequalities.

Countries are therefore expected to take an active role in designing national strategies that will compliment AfCFTA to benefit MSMEs and women led organizations to become part of the main stream economy.

MSMEs and women businesses are the pulse of the Zimbabwean economy let alone some regions in Africa as a well. Involvement of the private sector together with governments will go a long way in creating an environment where trade will be predictable, transparent and certain.

While we acknowledge that in the short term there will be shocks in some African economies nevertheless it is important to hold governments accountable in creating mitigation interventions to possibly absorb the shocks.

We will continue to blog and engage the stakeholders on how women and youth may position their businesses so as to survive.

There will be a webinar (date to be advised) facilitated by OWIT ZIMBABWE on how women businesses should be positioned in the advent of AfCFTA amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Article written by Sitshengisiwe Ndlovu(Tshengi) President of OWIT ZIMBABWE

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