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ECOWAS, NEPAD aim to empower local women

28 July 2014, 09:56Augustine Osayande

Abuja - Nigerian women are poised to benefit from a collaboration by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

The organisations will undertake a feasibility study for the implementation of the Business Incubator for African Women Entrepreneurs (BIAWE) project, as part of efforts to empower and eradicate poverty among women in rural communities in the region.

According to a statement from the regional body's headquarters in Abuja, this was recommended at one-day workshop at the ECOWAS Commission, Abuja.

ECOWAS and NEPAD officials and representatives of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) attended the workshop.

The workshop recommended that part of the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the feasibility study was to collect local and regional experts data in business development services, document women enterprises in agro-processing, identify needs, constraints and challenges and proffer solutions, among others.

"The workshop set up a task force to draft the TOR which will also include guidelines by which resource persons in the respective Member States will conduct a baseline study to be validated by the task force."

The ECOWAS Commission and NEPAD in 2012 signed an agreement for a one-million-Euro grant provided by the Kingdom of Spain through the NEPAD-Spain Fund to provide funds for the Business Incubator for African Women Entrepreneurs (BIAWE) project, which nurtures the business ventures of rural African women operating primarily in the area of agriculture.

The pilot phase of the two-year programme in West Africa will kick off in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone.

ECOWAS Commissioner for Gender and Social Affairs, Dr Fatimata Dia Sow, represented by the Director, Gender and Employment, Dr Sintiki Ugbe,
underscored the importance of the initiative given that many women in West Africa are engaged in agriculture and the informal sector.

She said the women should not only be assisted to start up but also grow their businesses since economic growth is imperative for the actualization of the ECOWAS Vision 2020.

- CAJ News


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