Rwanda will host the first regional women trade forum to discuss mechanisms of addressing the challenges women face while doing business in the region.
According to Stephen Ruzibiza, the Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) chief executive officer, the five-day forum will attract over 100 women business leaders from Rwanda and Kenya and seeks to strengthen relations and partnerships between Kenya and Rwanda women entrepreneurs.
It will also provide a platform for women entrepreneurs to devise ways on how they can benefit from opportunities presented by the East African Community (EAC) market, he added.
The event, that will also include a mini-exhibition, starts today and ends on July 28 at Kigali Serena Hotel. It is organised by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Women in Business Sector, in partnership with the local private sector body.
Ruzibiza said the forum will also emphasise the role of the private sector as the foundation for economic development and prosperity of the two countries.
He said the forum could help increase partnerships among business women in both countries, and strengthen intra-African trade and investment.
“With the Kenya National Chamber of Commercial and Industry (KNCCI), we will ensure enhanced business partnership, competitiveness and profitability between members in general and, women entrepreneurs, in particular,” Ruzibiza said.
Women entrepreneurs from the building and construction sector, agriculture and agribusiness, real estate, tourism and hospitality, transport and logistics, ICT, education and health, energy and extractives sectors will attend. The country’s Ministry of East African Community Affairs permanent secretary will lead Kenya’s delegation, Ruzibiza said.
Mary Muthoni, the chairperson of Kenya’s KNCCI Women in Business Committee, said the forum would discuss ways to addresses the problems regional business women encounter to help improve their competitiveness, especially in cross-border trade.
“We want to see more Kenyan and Rwandan traders getting their supplies from local manufacturers. That’s why we must also empower more women to realise this objective,” Muthoni said.