Rabat, Monday 29 March, 2021 - The Ministry Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation andMoroccans Residing Abroad, in charge of Moroccans Residing Abroad and the ECA office for North Africa held a joint meeting on Monday under the theme: “African Immigrant Women, entrepreneurs in the World”.
The meeting took place under the chairmanship of ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe and Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation andMoroccans Residing Abroad, incharge of Moroccans Residing AbroadH.E. Nezha El Ouafi, with a focus on expatriate, African women entrepreneurs and the support required to ensure their full participation in the economic development of both their native and destination countries.
El Ouafi explained that the meeting aimed to step up African cooperation in support to women on the economic and sustainable development fronts by building institutional and financial bridges that will strengthen female entrepreneurship across the region.
"Moroccan, female entrepreneurs around the world have shown that migration can play a role in development by facilitating the transfer of technology, culture and know how. This is why they are included in the development policy strategy set up under the enlightened leadership of H.M. King Mohammed VI, May GodAssist Him. This vision is based on a number of pillars such as adaptation to migration related challenges and Moroccan expatriates integrating harmoniously into their countries of residence, while preserving their ties to the Kingdom and stepping up their contribution to its development,” El Ouafi added.
Africa stands out from the rest of the world with the highest proportion of women entrepreneurs, with 24 percent of its entrepreneurs being female. However, African, female entrepreneurs’ share in cross-border trade and investment remains far lower than men’s and their needs and perspectives are seldom taken into account in the regional integration process.
Africa is full of challenges, but it also offers huge opportunities for migrant women, and can provide a bright future for those who wish to start a business, said Vera Songwe as she discussed the opportunities currently opening up to female, Moroccan and African entrepreneurs thanks to the African Continental Free Trade Zone (AfCFTA).
The ECA Executive Secretary stressed the importance of the economic integration of women for the development of their home and host countries. She called on African countries to support women entrepreneurs as they face various challenges, by designing data-based policies to best meet their needs.
Another crucial point is the need to increase African women’s’ access to funding as it remains lower than men’s, an issue the ECA-backed African Women Leadership Fund is currently seeking to address.
In addition, African countries will need to intervene at even more fundamental levels such as girls’ education, as per Sustainable Development Goal 5, which is yet to be achieved in North Africa, or through the establishment of kindergartens, which can play a crucial role for migrant women wishing to work, but who are unable to rely on their families’ child care support while doing so.
The meeting on "African immigrant women, entrepreneurs in the world" took place with the participation of African entrepreneurs, representatives of Moroccan and African entities in charge of expatriate communities, female heads of companies, as well as private sector, financial institution, trade institution and UN system representatives. Delegates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation andMoroccans Residing Abroad, incharge of Moroccans Residing Abroad, the Ministry of Solidarity, Social Development, Equality and Family, theHigh Commission for Planning, the Forum des Organisations de Solidarité Internationale issues des Migrations (FORIM), the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) and the Moroccan female entrepreneurs’ association AFEM also took part in the event.
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