The Director of Programmes at the NEPAD Agency, Mrs Estherine Lisinge-Fotabong, has said that women entrepreneurs hold the ace for successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reports NaijaAgroNet.
In a key keynote at the 2nd Conference for Women in Agribusiness Durban, South Africa, Mrs Fotabong noted that in every region of the world, more and more women are seeking economic opportunity and self- determination through enterprise creation.
The growth of women’s entrepreneurship, she said, is frequently cited on an anecdotal basis, and is increasingly covered and commented upon in the business media.
She pointed out that expectation is that by 2018, an estimated 9.72 million small, business-related jobs would be created and female entrepreneurs would contribute more than 50 per cent in this job creation space.
Statistically, she said, nature proves that women are becoming more comfortable in assuming leadership position and creating job opportunities on a large-scale1.
“Women starting up in business tend to provide a more immediate contribution to the economy: Around one in five women come into self-employment from unemployment compared with around one in fifteen for men,” she said.
Mrs. Fotabong emphasized that women have power to contribute more to African economies, asserting, “Entrepreneurship is critical to the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the inter-governmentally agreed set of targets for international development leading up to 2030.”
The MEC for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in KwaZulu-Natal, Mr. Cyril Xaba said that the heart of the strategy for agrarian transformation is the development of the small-scale farmer.
. “If the statistics are examined more closely, it actually means unleashing the potential of women in agriculture,” he said.
Chairperson, Agribusiness Development Agency, Dr. Martha Mbatha said that women are still the major producers of food in Africa; producing between 60 to 80 percent of the food output.
She contended that it is important to take heed of women’s voices in agribusiness, whose humility is at times mistaken for ignorance.
Corraborating Dr. Martha, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Representative for South Africa Dr Tobias Takavarasha, reiterated that women play an indispensable role in agriculture and food security.
Dr Takavarasha further stated that partnerships in maximising women’s potential in agribusiness entrepreneurship remain critical. Therefore, women who excel in the agrarian sector need to be given due recognition.
NaijaAgroNet further reports that a press statement endorsed by Mwanja Ng’anjo and Teko Nklapo both of NEPAD agency notes that the exhibition at the conference provided female exhibitors the space to showcase their value-add agricultural products. About 200 participants at the conference had the opportunity to also dialogue and share their experiences in agribusiness.
In addition, there is capacity building training provided in the area of agribusiness processes.
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pix: NEPAD PICD Director, Mrs Estherine Fotabong, with Mr Cyril Xaba [on her left] MEC of Agriculture & Rural Development in KwaZulu-Natal, visiting one of the stands at the conference exhibition