AfCFTA : We Must build Capacity For Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs – ACCI
By Latifat Opoola
The capacity of Nigerian women entrepreneurs must be built for them to key into the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in order to provide them with the comparative advantage they need to survive in their businesses or they will be crushed out of the market.
Director General of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Ms Victoria Akai alongside the Convener, Women Arise Development Humanitarian Initiative (WADHI) Mrs Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia stated this on Monday in Abuja at a radio programme with the topic “Empowering Women through the MSMEs”.
The DG emphasized that awareness for the women must be created for them to fully understand what the agreement is about adding that “we need our governments to be aware of these things that are going to happen happen. AfCFTA is a very good agreement. We are happy to be a part of it. But we need to get ready for it”.
She explained that the ACCI in Collaboration with Women Arise Development Humanitarian Initiative (WADHI) and other stakeholder have created a market called the “Arahah Farmers Market” for women to sell their products at cheap prices and also use it as a medium to address their challenges as well as prepare them for AfCFTA.
The DG who decried that almost all women businesses in Nigeria are in the MSMEs category said they must be supported for the capacities to match other businesses coming from other countries.
“Many of these women cannot afford standard shops, they cannot afford production centres, or packaging equipments and so you find that they cannot compete favourably in the market” she said.
“They have very limited working capital. So in ACCI, we are looking at ways to support these women, help them boost their business especially now that we are just coming out of recession, we are looking at helping them as well as sustain Nigeria’s position as wells as supporting its recovery by creating market access for the women, and also creating a platform for business networking and capacity building for the Women” she added.
She noted that the Arahah Farmers Market is aimed at opening up market access and increasing production to meet the growing demand that AfCFTA will be creating “because the the world will not wait for Nigerian women to get ready” .
Also speaking, The Convener of WADHI, Mrs Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia said the market will help in addressing issues of standardization, quality assurance, competitiness, pricing, logistics, for the women which have posed as barriers that local producers face in the country.
She noted that the Arahah Farmers Market will hold Monthly, very last Saturday of the Monday with the first edition for this year holding on Saturday the 27th of February, 2021 at the ACCI Complex.