WTO, ITC Launch $50 Million Fund to Support Women Entrepreneurs in Digital Trade

By : Samira Njoya

Date : vendredi, 01 mars 2024 12:33

In Africa, most women entrepreneurs struggle to obtain financing. Women-owned businesses often lack the capital needed for startup or expansion due to various obstacles.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) jointly initiated a $50 million fund, named the Women Exporters in the Digital Economy Fund (WEIDE), on February 25, Sunday. The fund is designed to promote digital technology adoption among women entrepreneurs, not only in Africa but also in other developing and least-developed nations. Its ultimate aim is to enable women to leverage the opportunities presented by international trade and the digital economy.

For Pamela Coke-Hamilton, ITC's Executive Director, the fund will help women to raise the capital they need for their businesses. "Time and time again, women in developing countries tell us that access to finance is a key barrier to trade. With this new Fund, women entrepreneurs will have the resources they need to do business across borders and online," she stated.

In Africa, women entrepreneurs often struggle to access bank loans and capital due to social norms, discriminatory policies, and a lack of collateral. This fund, initially backed by a $5 million contribution from the United Arab Emirates, aims to overcome these challenges.

The fund’s launch is a step towards empowering women in commerce and assisting them in developing and promoting their online businesses. According to WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, digital trade, particularly trade in digitally delivered services, has been the fastest-growing segment of international trade since 2005, with an average growth rate of 8%.

"Digitalization presents us with unprecedented opportunities to empower women entrepreneurs, level the playing field, and foster inclusive growth," said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Samira Njoya


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