By Daniel Laurence
A new digital platform has been launched in Seychelles aimed at bringing women entrepreneurs together to support and share business ideas across the African continent.
The digital platform — 50 Million African Women Speak (50MAWS) – was launched in a ceremony at Eden Bleu Hotel on Tuesday. It is available via the web (www.womenconnect.org/news) and on mobile devices as an app.
While launching the app, Seychelles’ President Danny Faure said that “the digital platform comes at a time when the world needs to come together to achieve greater success.”
“The platform will help women affected by the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will provide a one-stop-shop for women to access information on how to develop their business and support one another in their own country and those throughout the African continent,” said Faure.
The head of state said that “in this time of crisis we need to come together in solidarity. I am encouraging women to join the app and do your part to support our families and the economy.”
Featuring information on doing business in 38 countries across Africa, the app aims to facilitate a dynamic and engaging exchange of ideas among women entrepreneurs, using in-built social media functionality to connect them with one another. The app hopes to foster peer-to-peer learning, mentoring and the sharing of information and knowledge within communities.
The 50MAWS platform is an initiative of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and was first launched in Kigali, Rwanda on November 26, at the Global Gender Summit.
Faure said that as a long-standing member of COMESA, Seychelles has had a vibrant and fruitful relationship with its secretariat.
“Today is yet another example of the result of our strong relationship. Seychelles is one of the smallest countries in COMESA, but our big achievements prove that the contributions of Seychellois woman are at the core of transformation happening in our society,” Faure said.
In her address, the secretary-general of COMESA, Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, said that women in Seychelles will now have the opportunity to create their own virtual market where they can showcase their products all over the world without worrying about restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
Mpundu Kapwepwe said that with COVID-19 destroying economies of many countries, this initiative is a perfect response to get businesses back on track.
“It will help women entrepreneurs to learn from each other, inspire each other and draw from the most comprehensive resource bank for information on various aspects of doing business,” said Mpundu Kapwepwe.
She added that it “will also facilitate access to training, business management tools and financing options specifically targeted to women. The expected outcome is to directly impact 50 million African women and create fair waged jobs for young people from the increased business activities and capital flow.”
The launching of the app in Seychelles — a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean — has also coincided with the Orange Day campaign, an international campaign where the 25th of each month is used to raise awareness on ending violence against women.