BY YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has partnered indigeneous IT firms to build a digital trade platform to boost trade among women in Africa.
The digital trade solutions platform, tagged ‘eTradeHubs portal’ was built in commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD) to expand market access and economic opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises in Africa – especially women owned businesses.
The platform was built in conjunction with West Blue Consulting, United Parcel Services (UPS) and Trade Law.
The eTradeHubs portal was developed by two indigenous African technology providers – Global Trade Solution (GTS) and West Blue Consulting, provides a 24/7 interface for women traders and entrepreneurs in Africa (along with their male peers) to connect and access timely and up to date information, skills and operational tools, offered by the various service providers within the supply chain.
The portal currently provides country data of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and the ECOWAS sub region, with more countries and sub regions soon to be added, in line with the digitized 5 million African SMEs initiative.
Designed to leverage on the benefits arising from the operationalization of the AfCFTA Agreement, the eTradeHub portal aims to reduce the time and cost of doing business by supporting enterprises at all levels – from micro to multinational.
Secretary general of ICC, John W.H. Denton AO, while speaking at the virtual launch of the partnership said: “the economic, social, and health consequences associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have unequally impacted the lives and livelihoods of women business owners everywhere. We are extremely proud to partner with UPS, TRALAC, and West Blue Consulting to level the playing field in Africa and provide women entrepreneurs with the required resources to digitise their businesses. Women-led businesses are the backbone of their local economies – we can’t afford to leave them behind.”
The founder of West Blue Consulting, Valentina Mintah said: “the adoption of smart solutions by women in business and trade will ensure benefits such increased flexibility for women to work from home whilst raising children, improved access to global markets, networking opportunities and a significant shift of women from the informal to the formal sector.”