By Abigail Chaponda in Liverpool, United Kingdom
Zambia’s First Lady Esther Lungu has said empowering women and investing in their potentials is pivotal to drive growth in the global economy and ensure sustainable development for the future generation.
And Islamic Republic of Afghanistan First Lady Rula Ghani said meaningful and sustainable development cannot be achieved without the partnership of women.
Meanwhile International Trade Centre (ITC) Executive Director, Arancha Gonzalez has called on all women entrepreneurs, governments, private sector companies, trade and investment institutions as well as civil society groups to allow trade to be a uniting force.
In a meeting before the official opening of The SheTrades Global 2018, Mrs. Lungu said women in decision making positions should embrace grassroot development headed by women as this will bring about development in different sectors of the economy.
And Mrs. Ghani said “We feel women’s work is not recognised globally. It is about time that women came together and transformed the economic situation of our economies through trade and entrepreneurship. Women should not be left behind in the development of our economies.”
Meanwhile, speaking when she officially opened The SheTrade Global 2018 Ms. Gonzalez encouraged women attending the conference to seize the opportunity of attending the event to forge lasting relationships and expand opportunities for women entrepreneurs through trade.
“By working together, we can reduce the estimated 217 years it will take to achieve gender parity. We can ensure that 90 percent of countries maintaining one or more laws discriminating against women in the economy see reforms. We can promote women’s participation in public procurement, and we can create a more equitable representation of women exporters. If we manage to do this, we can unlock the full potential of women’s economic participation and add up to $28 trillion USD to the world’s GDP by 2025,” she said
Ms. Gonzalez said in 2015, ITC launched the SheTrades Initiative with a goal of connecting 1 million women to international markets by 2020 and by the end of 2017 met its target and has since been revised to 3 million by the end of 2021. The ITC vision is to create an enabling ecosystem for greater integration of women in global trade and investment.
The First Lady is today Thursday 28th June 2018 delivering a keynote speech at the SheTrade Global 2018 in her capacity as African Woman Entrepreneurs Program (AWEP) Chairperson. This is in recognition for her commitment towards strong advocacy for women empowerment.
The First Lady is leading a delegation comprising of the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), nine Zambian Business Women, UK and Geneva Commission staff and staff from the First Lady’s office.