KAMPALA – KCB in partnership with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Federation of National Associations of Women in Business (COMFWB), the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperative and Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited convened its 3rd annual regional women in business trade fair that was held at the Uganda Museum grounds from 24- 26th August.
The trade fair incorporated a business conference session on contemporary discussions guided by the theme “Businesswomen incubators advancing regional trade”, and a business clinic with all government agencies including URA, UNBS, URSB, UEPB among others.
The event aimed at providing a conducive and vibrant platform for African Women and men while in Uganda, to trade, navigate potential opportunities, market, and create strong value chains with traders across the globe. 21 member countries of COMESA Federation of Women in Business (COMFWB) were represented by their respective board members and different products from the various countries were showcased. The CEO of COMFWB Ms. Ruth Negash underlined the importance of women creating value chains and the importance of digitization in boosting trade across the African continent.
The exhibition also availed broad direct interaction prospects with manufacturers, trendsetters, consumers, retailers, wholesalers, sales teams, and distributors. The COMFWB Uganda chapter was crowned with a dinner ceremony for businesswomen and men at Sheraton Kampala Hotel.
KCB is greatly aligned to empower women economically through supporting their business proposals with different bank facilities and products.
The current findings show that 64% of women-led firms declared their business operations as strongly affected compared with 52 % of men-led companies due to COVID-19(Brookings,2020, ITC,2020 & Intracen,2020). Uganda shows that majority of women ranked have pulled out of business due to lack of trade and market information (83%), lack of competitive edge (80%), high cost of doing business (78%), poor business management skills (78%), poor knowledge of import and export requirements (71%) inappropriate policies and legal regulatory environment, as well as non-tariff and tariff barriers. Despite the barriers, many women entrepreneurs have contributed to operating their respective businesses and the majority have strived against all odds through business incubators.
Participating in a panel discussion themed ‘The role of government, civil society and financial institution in positioning Africa Continental Free Trade Area’ the Executive Director of KCB Bank, Agnes Mayanja defined the contribution of the institution in elevating women in business. “We have special products that can be attained by women to push business across borders. We have both short and long-term loans and have taken on a digital journey that renders it convenient to trade across borders seamlessly. In addition, one of our schemes is to prioritize our customer’s needs and we endeavor to create a significant impact through deliberately being simple, inspiring, and friendly. Most importantly, we have granted women access to markets both regional and international through our regional presence across the East African Region.”