DR Ruth Adimula, a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, has called on governments in West African countries to support and make friendly policies for women petty traders
According to the University of Ilorin Bulletin issued on Monday, the don made the call at the APERO Africana Btown Bag Lecture held at the African Studies Institute, University of Georgia, United States of America.
She stated that such policies would promote economic inclusivity and equal opportunities, particularly among the women folk.
Adimula asserted that training and upskilling of affected beneficiaries would be viable policies for their development.
She spoke on the topic: “Impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Agreement on Women Shuttle Cross-border Traders in West Africa”.
The expert on Peace studies also called for more sensitisation and awareness through education of women traders on the provisions of AfCFTA and its applications to trans-border trading in West Africa.
She stated that African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one of the flagship projects of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063.
She said: “The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area – 55 AU countries and eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to create a single market for the continent.
“Its mandate is to eliminate trade barriers and boost intra-Africa trade, enabling investment and job creation”.
Adimula called for training and capacity building on safety precautions and self-defense skills that would help in avoiding risks and making sound choices in the West African states.
She also called for the creation of support networks and fora for women traders to share their experiences towards promoting community inclusion and solidarity, which should aid in addressing safety problems.
The don called for adequate infrastructural facilities that would help in the storage of agricultural commodities in cross-border markets as well as other support with tools of trade by the African Development Bank and Afrexim Bank.
She charged stakeholders to generate chances for women empowerment, economic expansion and inclusive growth along the borders.
This, she said, is by addressing the multiple restraining issues and creating a secure trade environment among the African Union and ECOWAS member states.
Adimula equally called for a financial facility with low-interest support for women in cross-border business to boost their trade and contributions to the national income of their country’s Bank, AFDB.
“Policy makers, NGOs and international organisations can work together to push for laws that address equal access to infrastructural facilities by men and women in cross-border trade.
“The border crossings among Nigeria, Benin Republic and Togo had witnessed a constant movement of products, services and people.
“Women have emerged as essential players in the cross-border trade, making substantial contributions to economic growth and social improvement,” she said.
The expert noted that the AfCFTA project was adopted in 2019 with a dearth of studies and data on it in West Africa.
According to her, information and communication on the AfCFTA project had recorded a generally very low patronage with the main beneficiaries of the provisions mostly not aware of the contents and benefits. (NAN)
November 13, 2023 @ 11:38 GMT|