WOMEN URGED TO EXPLOIT REGIONAL MARKETS

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By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

GOVERNMENT has urged Zambians, particularly women entrepreneurs, to take advantage of the gap which exists in the regional markets that demands quality local products.

Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary, Kayula Siame, observed that the regional and international markets were looking to source local quality products while consumers wanted a variety of those products.

Ms Siame said the regional and international market for Zambian products was available but quickly pointed out that entrepreneurs needed to churn out products which were competitive.

She was speaking yesterday in Lusaka at the SheTrades Zambia workshop on Finance and Export Strategy.

The initiative is meant to provide tools and strategies for women entrepreneurs that can contribute to sustainable development by accessing finance and accessing local, regional and international markets.

“Government is taking note; the empowerment of women through access to finance and market is one of the broadest and most impactful ways to boost economic development,” she said.

Ms Siame said local producers could access the international markets through various platforms such as the Continental Free Trade Area which Zambia recently signed.

“The markets are there. We just need products to send which are competitive and can satisfy consumers,” she said.

And Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) board chairperson, Mary Ncube, explained that the SheTrades initiative was developed to create an ecosystem of integrated solutions that empowered women with a goal to connect three million women to market by 2021.

Ms Ncube said women empowerment stood out to be a compelling factor which was critical for inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

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