The Minister of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts H.E Minister Achille BASSILEKIN III presided over the workshop for the validation of the SheTrade Outlook profile in Cameroon alongside the sensitization of female entrepreneurs on the African Continental Free Trade Area. The ceremony which took place on the 15th of March 2022 at Djeuga Palace hotel regrouped numerous experts in person and online from the International Trade Centre in Geneva – Switzerland. It was aimed at enlightening female entrepreneurs on the concept of the SheTrade Outlook program as well as collecting several recommendations required for the validation of this program in Cameroon.

Created in 2018 by the International Trade Centre, the SheTrade Outlook initiative is an embodiment of a Commonwealth project geared towards economic growth and the creation of employment in several countries through the active participation of the female gender in international commerce. Its main aim is to connect approximately three million women in the international market. This initiative is also a political tool aimed at helping public actors to evaluate, monitor and ameliorate the way in which the institutional system supports female participation in international trade so as to reinforce female economic empowerment.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Achille BASSILEKIN III called on the women to make use of this timely opportunity which will open doors to new partnerships, augment national and international market opportunities and also create a solid network of entrepreneurial women in Cameroon. He went further to state that with respect to the validation of the SheTrade Outlook program, it is important for the women to make their voices heard so as to accelerate the amelioration of certain sectors and pillars of the program as well as help in the formulation of public policies related to the objectives of SheTrade Outlook. He also stated that this program is a possibility of improving policy framework of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in general and those related to women especially for the resilience of national and international competition. The Minister ended by assuring the women that the results attained within the context of this workshop will be utilized for the adequate implementation of SheTrade Outlook in Cameroon.

It should be recalled that the SheTrade Outlook program covers 38 countries amongst which are 23 African countries. It disposes of 83 indicators, more than 50 good practices and 500 partner institutions. The program rests on 6 pillars which entail commercial policy, business environment, legal framework and rules, access to competence, access to finance and lastly, work and society. Its 7 major actions are based on best data quality, equitable policies, access to public markets, links and business contracts optimization, access to markets, access to financial services and rights to property.  In relation to the afore-mentioned 6 pillars and 7 major actions, recommendations such as the creation of a chamber of commerce for women, early entrepreneurial education of the girl child at the school levels, facilitation of exportation procedures for women, lifting of frontier barriers especially in the CEMAC region to facilitate movement of goods and the female gender were amongst the numerous recommendations raised.

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