The first day of the Inaugural AfCFTA Conference on Women and Youth in Trade, taking place at the Julius Nyarere International Centre, commenced today in Dar Es Salaam in the United Republic of Tanzania under the patronage of Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan. The Opening Statement was made by H.E. Wamkele Mene, where he emphasised the importance of the conference as a landmark occasion to include the needs of women and youth into the AfCFTA Protocol on Women and Youth. H.E. Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission also made remarks, stating “It is critical to foster an inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development agenda that is anchored on the people who are to benefit from such development. It is also important to ensure the effective implementation of supporting policies and programmes. The AfCFTA Conference on Women and Youth in Trade offers an important platform to engage all stakeholders including women and youth entrepreneurs and businesses, on the challenges they face as cross border traders, but also on the solutions they would like the AfCFTA, and more specifically, the Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade to bring for them.
Other high profile speakers who included H.E. Jewel Howard Taylor, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia and H.E Sahle-Work Zewde, President of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and H.E. Ameenah Gurib Fakim, former President of the Republic of Mauritius.
Following the Opening Ceremony, three plenary sessions were held on Supporting Women’s and Youth’s Leadership in Trade, Reflecting on Challenges Women and Youth face in Cross Border Trade in Africa and Promoting Financial Inclusion for Women and Youth in Trade. Speakers at these panels Heads of States, including H.E. Dr. Joyce Hilda Banda, Former President of the Republic of Malawi and H.E. Jessica Rose Epel Alupo, Vice President of the Republic of Uganda as well as entrepreneurs and Ministers.