Under the theme, Boosting Intra-African Trade, the African Union Summit commenced at Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. The prime theme of the summit is the role of women in trade in Africa, the role of women entrepreneurs and food security in Africa.
This summit aims to update the participants on what is being done on the continent in terms of gender equality and women’s rights by the African Union and other actors.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, underlined the importance of trade in Africa by saying that, no nation or region that has developed has achieved that without being integrated into the global economy. Indeed, trade is a means of the development of the continent and women are key drivers of trade
One of the objectives of this gender meeting was to see what could be done to improve the situation of women in trade in Africa. Dr. Amani Asfour, the President of Egyptian Business Women Association, emphasized on the need for capacity building, empowerment of the private sector and ownership of the management of the continent’s resources. She further said that without ICT, negotiation skills and technical skills very few things can be achieved nowadays. She stressed on adding value to products such as, branding, designing, packaging, and advertising so that they can be attractive to both local and foreign markets. But to achieve all this, women need to be empowered through more sensitization, she added.