All set for SADC Women in Business Summit
WINDHOEK – The SADC Secretariat in conjunction with the Namibian Government will host a SADC Women in Business Trade Fair in Windhoek, from August 12 to 18. Host Namibia’s Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Doreen Sioka said the trade fair will coincide with the SADC Council of Ministers Meeting and the 30th Jubilee Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government, also to be held in the capital from August 9, to 17. The trade fair will be held at the Windhoek Show grounds starting from 09h00 to 21h00 daily. Women exhibitors from 14 SADC member states will participate in the trade fair. Items to be exhibited range from arts and handicrafts products, textiles and clothing, natural honey products, ceramics, health products and Aloe based cleaning products. The Trade fair is meant to ensure economic empowerment of women through the creation of opportunities and for women in business to identify new markets for their products. In addition the exhibition also aims to create a forum for exchange of ideas, knowledge and experiences for business expansion and networking; to promote intra and inter regional trade among women in business and to promote partnerships and industrial cooperation for businesses with growth potential and expose them to investors. Women in Business Associations/Organisations within the SADC region met in Zimbabwe for the first time in 1996, to discuss issues affecting women in micro or small scale enterprises. They instituted “A Woman in Business SADC Trade Fair” to be held in a selected SADC member state once every two years, where all Member states of SADC are expected to participate. The first trade fair sponsored by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) was held in 1998 in Zimbabwe. The Second one, which included the Women in Business Summit and the Investment Forum, was held in Namibia in Ongwediva in 2000 and Namibia’s founding President Dr Sam Nujoma was its patron. Malawi participated in the fair were it scooped the first price and offered to host the next trade fair and investment forum in 2002. Sioka said Namibia is very proud to host such an event for the second time following the 2000 Ongwediva Women in Business SADC Trade Fair. The trade fair will be preceded by an investment forum in the form of information sharing and training on the ‘Improving Your Exhibition Skills’ programme. Training starts on August, 09 to 11 at Hotel Thuringerhof. The objective of ‘Improve Your Exhibition Skills is to assist women entrepreneurs in making the best use of trade fairs for increased market access, business growth and personal empowerment. 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. 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 Sioka said.