Zambia aims to connect 1million women SMEs to international markets


Women make up about more than half of the population in Zambia. However, they still remain under-represented in most of what are deemed the country’s most profitable sectors.

At least 10 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) owned by women globally account for 80 percent of jobs created by these kinds of businesses, but women are still marginalised despite their immense contribution to society, the International Trade Centre (ITC) said on Monday.

With women-owned SMEs in Zambia, the country is set to receive its much needed boost – that would connect the country’s women-owned businesses to international markets. Zambia’s Vice-President Inonge Wina, speaking at the launch of the Zambia chapter of the SheTrades initiative on Monday, said that the socio-economic status of Zambian women will now change for the better as part of the country’s efforts to empower women-owned SMEs which is also highlighted by the National Development Plan.

“The factors that have contributed to hinder women are multiple and multifaceted. Some hinge on cultural practices and perceptions and others are related to lack of access to means of production. At the bottom of this all lies patriarchy,” Wina said.

“Women should [also] learn to appreciate and support each other at all cost. In international trade and all levels, there may come a time where meeting supply deadlines will require an input from your fellow women traders and entrepreneurs. Let us hold each other’s hands as we develop.”

This initiative is aimed at connecting approximately one million women to market by 2020 and rallies stakeholders around the world.   this will help to address trade barriers and wider opportunities for the women. The women will then have the opportunity to enhance their business skills through trainings and other programs created to help them.  The commerce, trade and industry ministries will play a key role in making this initiative a reality and a success. Additionally, a data-mapping survey on women entrepreneurs will be done in order to identify their specific needs.

The ITC is a United Nations trade and development agency that is plays a major role in the support and the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises.



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