The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has launched the 50 Million African Women Speak (50MWS) Digital Networking platform in Zimbabwe.
The digital platform is part of a broader women economic empowerment initiative funded by the African Development Bank, jointly implemented by three regional economic communities (RECs) namely Comesa, the East African Community (EAC) and the Economic Community for Western African States (Ecowas) in 36 countries.
The platform is aimed to connect women entrepreneurs and encourage peer-to-peer learning, mentoring as well as information and knowledge sharing, and will be accessible on information and communication technology (ICT) gadgets including mobile phones.
Addressing participants at the launch in Harare on Tuesday, Comesa director for Gender and Social Affairs Beatrice Simwapenga said the objective of the project is to empower women entrepreneurs by providing access to financial and non-financial information necessary to grow business.
“The 50 Million Women Speak Digital Networking Platform will be accessed through electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, iPads, laptops and others. Women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe and the region will use the platform to access information and linkages to business services, training and market opportunities.
“The platform is unique and will build a community of existing and potential women entrepreneurs who will act as peers, mentors and advisors to each other. This social network will allow women to share lessons, success stories as well as conduct business online. Furthermore, it will provide interface between women and financial service providers thus promoting easy access to financial services,” she said.
“The platform will enable women entrepreneurs to network with one another and with mentors to support the overall goal of enhanced financial inclusion of women, leading ultimately to increased economic activity in the region.
“All the information one needs when starting or aiming to grow their business will be available on this platform.”
The 50MWS is expected to support the overall goal of enhanced financial inclusion of women, leading ultimately to increased economic activity in Africa.
The project is in line with provisions for women empowerment in the Comesa Treaty and Gender Policy; EAC Treaty; Ecowas Gender Policy; African Union Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).