By Hope Imaka – EM TV Online
The push for female empowerment around the Pacific has taken another step forward with the launching of the SheTrade Program.
Companies that export are more productive, they are more competitive, they employ more and they pay better. The Geneva-based International Trade Centre Executive Director, Arancha González, says the SheTrade Program aims to connect one million women with global export markets by 2020.
“We wanted to start modest and demonstrate that it can be done,” she said.
González added that’such can only be achieved if it is taken as a societal issue and has identified a number of factors that need to be addressed in order for the success of the program; these were the changing of the legal discrimination towards women, the perception that women are not part of the economy, observations of the socio-cultural changes that need to happen.
The program will also assist women with access to finance and ensure it connects these women to buyers so that their income and their earnings are sustainable.
The International Trade Centre is currently in a number of Pacific Island countries including PNG, and their message is the same all throughout, “Use Trade to Generate Jobs, Foster Development, and Reduce Poverty”.
González goes on by saying Pacific island nations should conduct trade in products which they have a comparative advantage. Very often it’s going to be in the processed agricultural products as in the case of Fiji, in PNG it could be in the case of billum making, in Vanuatu it will be in the tourism sector, in Samoa it will be by connecting women to government procurement markets; all of these have already been working on with the generous support of Australia’s development aid called Australian Aid for Trade.
“It doesn’t matter if your economy is small…if it’s the case, than what you have to do is focus on maybe smaller volumes of higher value added products, go for niche products…”
At the end of the day, the SheTrade Programis all about the income that the women can earn by participating in international trade.