The Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon. Oheneba Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei has reiterated the government’s commitment and preparedness to work on policies that will improve the lives of women Small Scale Cross Border Traders in the country. This was said in a speech read on her behalf at a three-day sensitization workshop organized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission with other relevant industry players at Tema in the Greater Accra Region.
The objective of the workshop was to facilitate cross-border trade and improve the operations of small-scale traders by enhancing their knowledge and understanding of trade and related Community text and initiatives. It will also serve as a feedback mechanism to receive information from the traders and other stakeholders.
According to her, cross-border trade has become an integral source of income for many women, which has contributed to the economic empowerment and improvement of the living conditions of families, hence the need to support them. She stressed that the Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry remains committed to support the ECOWAS Commission to facilitate trade in the sub-region to the benefit of ECOWAS member states.
“Ghana is fully committed to improving outcomes for women in trade. What we have done is to mainstream gender in Trade Policy formulation and implementation. Working in collaboration with the World Bank Group, the Ministry of Trade and Industry launched the Gender Sub-Committee of the NTFC on November 15, 2021” she said. “One of the key responsibilities of the sub-committee was to sensitize Women Small Scale Cross Border Trader on trade protocols in the sub-region as well as emerging multilateral and bilateral trade agreements” she added.
The Minister emphasized that women serve as the grassroots ambassadors for cross-border cooperation and can help strengthen economic ties between neighboring countries. She lauded the ECOWAS Commission and other stakeholders for organizing the workshop which she believed would go a long way to make Cross-Border trading less stressful and achieved its desired goal for the economy.
In a message read on behalf of the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social protection, Hon. Francisca Oteng Mensah said, empowering women is the most necessary action to take in improving sustainable national development. “Once women are equipped in knowledge on business operations, it helps them to function effectively. A self- employed woman can contribute not only to family finances but the Nation’s GDP as a whole. Women often make up a substantial portion of small-scale cross-border traders therefore such sensitization efforts can promote gender equality by providing them with knowledge and right resources to engage in trade activities confidently” she said.
The ECOWAS representative to Ghana, Ambassador Baba Gana WAKIL, launching the event, highlighted the challenges women traders face in their business which includes complex customs clearance procedures, documentation requirements, harassment, as well as irregular fee collection. These challenges, he said, had significantly hindered the development of their businesses with an overall impact to intra-regional trade and income per capita. It is the expectation of ECOWAS Commission that the three-day training, will promote the operation of small-scale women traders in a hassle-free and secure environment with a notable reduction in harassment against women.