Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) – Gender equity and mainstreaming in social and economic development are the basic and essential commitment of the East African Community (EAC), the regional grouping’s chief executive, Richard Sezibera, said Thursday at the launch of the East African Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP) in Arusha, Tanzania.
The platform is aimed at promoting women’s participation in the EAC trade and integration process that involves the five member countries -- Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.
Sezibera said that the platform has come at a time when a great momentum has been generated in the EAC strategy for empowerment of women in the regional integration and development process.
“Over the years, these issues have galvanised the attention of the key players and stakeholders in the regional integration and development process and the discourse that has involved the broad spectrum of the EAC from the civil society to the national authorities, the private sector and our development partners has been comprehensive and far reaching,” said the Community’s Secretary General..
Despite its great potential for contribution to social development, the role of women in the society has for long been taken for granted, Sezibera said, adding: “Women have been less appreciated and continue to suffer from limited access to opportunities and resources in most sectors especially agriculture and business development.”
EAWiBP Executive Committee member Joanne Mwangi, said the platform was initiated in 2011 by the East African Business Council (EABC) with the support of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) with a view to putting in place mechanisms to address challenges faced by women-owned businesses within the region.
Drawing its mandate from the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC, the platform would be guided by the vision of becoming a women’s centre of excellence for intra- and extra-EAC trade, Mwangi explained, noting that the Treaty required partner States to promote the role of women in socio-economic development and in business.
-0- PANA AR/VAO 24May2012