Wed, 03 Nov 2021 - 01:45 GMT
Wed, 03 Nov 2021 - 01:45 GMT
Cairo – 3 November 2021: Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Trade Reform and Development in Egypt project (USAID TRADE), in partnership with Businesswomen of Egypt 21 (BWE21), to collaborate in improving the enabling environment for trade and investment for women exporters, with special emphasis on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The MOU signing was attended by representatives from the U.S. and Egyptian governments, USAID TRADE project, and BWE21.
The MOU sets forth the intentions of USAID TRADE and BWE21 for increased collaboration, including to establish an Egyptian women exporters’ network through BWE21. The project will support this network by helping BWE21 to design, implement, and roll out a mobile application that helps women exporters easily access trusted service providers on their export journey. Challenges in identifying and securing credible and trustworthy service providers, for example logistics and transport companies, trade finance institutions, or contract lawyers, can discourage new exporters, a target audience USAID TRADE is seeking to help.
For her part, Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat stated that women empowerment across all sectors is one of the goals that the government works towards achieving, within the framework of Egypt’s Vision 2030. H.E added that each available opportunity to empower women, opens new horizons for women’s further participation in the economy, and enhances their role in development. Al-Mashat emphasized the importance of the signed Memorandum of Understanding, as it plays a key role in enabling women exporters to develop their businesses, and unleashes women entrepreneurs potential in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs); adding that this agreement is also an opportunity to further develop South-South cooperation, through increasing exports.
Minister Al-Mashat applauded the strategic partnership between the Ministry of International Cooperation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in supporting and pushing forward national development efforts across various fields, one of which is women’s economic empowerment; adding that the Ministry of International Cooperation, together with the National Council for Women (NCW), and the World Economic Forum (WEF), launched the “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator”. which is the first unique public-private collaboration model in AFrica and the Middle East.
H.E. also noted that the Ministry of International Cooperation’s current portfolio that amounts to $25 billion, includes $3.3 billion targeting women empowerment in various sectors; such as health, education, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The U.S. Government values the crucial role women play in Egypt’s economic development. We are confident that our new partnership with the Business Women of Egypt 21 association will be a dynamic force in helping more Egyptian women engage and succeed in international trade,” said USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed.
Rachid Benjelloun, USAID TRADE Chief of Party, continued that “COVID-19 has had a depressing effect on economic activity worldwide but companies that have survived or even thrived, whether in Egypt or the U.S., were the ones that adjusted swiftest to international trade demands, including by taking advantage of information technology tools and ecommerce.”
There is a clear need to help more women engage and succeed as exporters and importers, not only by helping women access more reliable information and reducing administrative barriers to trade, but also by connecting new women exporters to others who have far more experience in the trade arena. USAID TRADE and BWE21 believe that in doing so, including through establishing and strengthening a women exporters’ network, more women entrepreneurs will participate in international trade, thus not only increasing Egypt’s exports but also creating quality jobs for their communities.