March 17, 2021

The Executive Director/ CEO of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Olusegun Awolowo hosted the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the International Trade Centre (ITC)-NEPC Roundtable discussion on She Trades, Small and Medium Scale Sized Enterprises at Export House, Abuja.

The International Trade Centre has been implementing projects on women and trade in Nigeria since the establishment of the She Trades Hub hosted by the NEPC in July 2016. The projects enhance the competitiveness of women entrepreneurs and make market linkages to regional and global value chains, and in addition promote an enabling policy eco -system for women entrepreneurs. Key sectors of focus include agribusiness, textiles and apparel and Information Technology sectors.

The Executive Director, NEPC Olusegun Awolowo in his welcome remarks said:

“NEPC is actively engaged in strategic collaborations and formidable partnerships to achieve our goals. A clear area of focus for us has been a drive to gain significant participation of women in non-oil exports such as the She Trades initiative, Nigeria was included in the pilot of SheTrades in the Commonwealth programme (2018-2021) funded by the UK Department for International Development DFID launched during CHOGM 2018.This, we are sure will help the country achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality which cuts across all sectors. Undoubtedly the importance of women’s inclusion in trade cannot be overemphasized.”

The DG, WTO Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala thanked the NEPC for its role in encouraging women entrepreneurs and exporters:

“My visit to the NEPC has ended on a high note. I am so happy to see, interact and engage with women entrepreneurs and exporters.  We have so many products, thanks to the work of the NEPC and ITC. The range of products packaging and quality have greatly improved, The World Trade Organization will continue to work to support Nigeria’s economy”.

She Trades partnerships extend across the private sector as well as business support organizations such as Microsoft (on the delivery of digital capacity building), Access Bank (to facilitate access to finance for women entrepreneurs) and several agricultural cooperatives to connect female producers to the market.

Highlights Include:

  • Training of 4,000 women entrepreneurs in areas such as branding and marketing, crisis management and Good Agricultural Practices(GAP) for Women-Owned Businesses in spices sectors and 8 states in Nigeria.
  • The capacity building combined business–to-business activities has enabled women to offer their products and services to new buyers. Over US$40,000 in sales and US$12,000 in investment for women owned businesses has been facilitated.
  • This growth for businesses has led to the creation of 3437 jobs as a result of ITC She Trades interventions with approximately 60% of those jobs going to women.
  • Collaborating with the NEPC and Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development to develop a gender-responsive public procurement policy validated in February 2021
  • The roll out SheTrades Outlook policy tool in Nigeria to help the government assess and improve the responsiveness of the policy ecosystem.