Kenya has called for the involvement of women entrepreneurs in trade and investment in the East African Community (EAC).
The East African Community and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano, considers focus on women a confirmation that the spirit of gender complementarity has slowly but surely demolished myths that hitherto held certain chores as a preserve of one gender and a no-go zone for the other.
She was speaking during the inaugural East African Women’s Business and Investment Forum in London.
CS Miano said the forum is clearly an appropriate doorway to a mutually beneficial partnership between the EAC and the United Kingdom.
While stressing the importance of empowering women, she noted that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development prioritises women’s empowerment captured in Sustainable Development Goal Number 5 advocates for gender equality and empowerment among all women and girls.
Adding that, a 2021 treatise jointly authored by four gender experts and titled “Women’s empowerment in East Africa: Development of a cross-country comparable measure” and published in the well-respected monthly journal “World Development,” had some insights.
The write-up observes that “the empowerment of women is a salient measure of social change and the process through which individuals attain ‘the ability to make choices’ under conditions in which choice was previously denied.” She added.
Miano underscored the immense opportunities the region has, noting EAC has bountiful options for an abundance of entrepreneurs and traders.
The EAC region covers roughly 4.8 million square kilometers, is home to about 285 million people with rich cultures and a combined GDP of about 240 billion Pound Sterling as at the year 2021.
Miano said the EAC region brims with mineral wealth ranging from precious metals, gemstones, semi-precious metals, metallic minerals and industrial minerals, noting that these are a recipe for the establishment of a whole range of industries.
She said the region is, undoubtedly ideal for tourism and associated industries citing the wide variety of wildlife, beautiful beaches, good weather and an array of attractive natural features.
“The spectacle of about 1.5 million wildebeest migrating between Kenya and Tanzania every year is recognised as one of the world’s seven wonders. Meanwhile, Africa’s two highest peaks—Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya—are in the EAC region and so is the source of the famed Nile – Lake Victoria, itself the second biggest fresh water inland water body in the world. The Nile, meanwhile, is the world’s second largest river after the Amazon.” She said.
Adding that: “Coastal cities and towns in both Kenya and Tanzania have a rich historical and cultural heritage courtesy of long running close interaction with multiple world cultures for centuries.”
With regard to agriculture, she said the EAC region’s vast arable land produces some of the world’s most sought after teas and coffees and is also known for its horticultural and flower farming, part of whose produce has markets in Europe and elsewhere in the world.