14 Oct 2013 15:00pm
WINDHOEK, 14 OCT (NAMPA) A conference aimed at the economic empowerment of women through the creation of business opportunities started in the capital on Monday.
The gathering titled Women in Development Enterprise Across Africa Business Conference will run from Monday to Friday.
It brought together well established businesswomen from Namibia and Nigeria, and is spearheaded by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) in partnership with Nigerian-based Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF).
The MMF is a non-profit organisation, founded on the ideals of the Late General Murtala Muhammed, a former Head of State of Nigeria.
Welcoming the delegates during the official opening of the conference on Monday, Namibias Gender Equality Minister, Rosalia Nghidinwa said the conference serves as a platform to break down the barriers which women face in a bid to excel in their quest for excellence in business.
It is our goal that we shall improve the lives of all Africans through this partnership, as women need to drive the engine of partnership in order to achieve the maximum impact of growth needed in Africa, she said.
Nghidinwa said the conference should enable both sides to identify new markets for their products, create forums for networking, and exchange ideas as well as experiences for business expansion and growth.
The conference, she said, is also an important strategy to expose women to continental markets, market information, new trends and innovative products.
It is also an opportune occasion for us to talk about issues of women economic empowerment. We can share information on various bilateral agreements between our two countries aimed at facilitating business and investments, the minister noted.
She pointed out that Namibia, like many other African countries, is faced with challenges such as unemployment and poverty, limited resources and an unequal distribution of wealth between men and women.
Nghidinwa indicated that 75 per cent of women are agricultural producers, yet they are the least owners of land, causing women to develop a dependency syndrome on men.
There is an urgent need for support by our respective institutions in our countries to women businesses to enable them to grow and graduate from micro to macro enterprises capable of generating mega bucks to address the above-mentioned challenges, she stressed.
Women, the minister, highlighted are central to the entire development process and are the vanguard of social transformation.
The sectors of focus for the Nigerian businesswomen are amongst others health, hospitality, tourism and hotel management, education, banking and finance, agro industries, fishing and marine, mining, fashion and tailoring.