In a media statement issued this week,
’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) said three women exhibitors each from 14 SADC trade bloc member states will take part in the trade fair. Namibia
Items to be exhibited range from arts and crafts, textiles and clothing, natural honey, ceramics, jewellery, hand-made baskets, tapestry, Aloe-based cleaning chemicals and health products, carpets, shawls, bags and sundry from wool and Mohair, the famous Seshoeshoe dress - a traditional pride of Lesotho -, hand embroideries, gemstones, pottery and cosmetic products, amongst many other items.
The trade fair is hosted by a selected SADC member state after every two years, and will this year coincide with the SADC Council of Ministers’ Meeting and the 30th Jubilee Summit of the SADC Heads of State and Government to be held in the capital from 9 to 17 August 2010.
“One of SADC’s main objectives is to achieve sustainable development and economic growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard of living and quality of life of the people of southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration. It’s a well-known fact that women are the backbone of many African economies, and also play key roles in the economies of each SADC member state,” the statement said.
According to the MICT, evidence has also revealed that women constitute more than 50 per cent of the poor population in SADC.
“The economic empowerment of women not only positively impacts their own life situations, but is also central to mobilising their potential for sustainable development and poverty alleviation,” it said.
Women are said to spend a higher percentage of their income on feeding and educating their children, which is aimed at the wellbeing of their families.
Hence, the economic independence of women is crucial as it counter-acts exploitation, feminisation of poverty, discrimination and disregard of their fundamental human rights, the statement read.
The objectives of the trade fair are also to ensure the economic empowerment of women in business through the creation of opportunities for women in business to identify new markets for their products; to create a forum for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and experiences for business expansion and networking; and to promote intra and inter-regional trade among women in business.
It also serves to promote partnerships and industrial co-operation for businesses with growth potential, and expose them to investors and to sensitise SADC governments, financial institutions and the private sector to support women in business in national and regional initiatives as a necessary condition for an effective social and economic development process.
The trade fair will be preceded by a three-day investment forum in the form of information- sharing and training on the IYES (Improving Your Exhibition Skills) programme to start on Monday.
The objective of IYES is to assist women entrepreneurs in making the best use of trade fairs for increased market access, business growth and personal empowerment.
The training will help exhibitors to build their capacity to acquire and improve their knowledge, skills and attitudes relating to marketing and running their businesses. Information on the SADC Free Trade Area and how it impacts on women regional traders, especially cross-border traders, will be presented, including the required Customs’ Documentation and Clearance procedures.