The Women Traders in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a partnership formed by ICC, TRALAC, UPS, and West Blue Consulting, launched the eTradeHubs portal today to mobilise women small business owners in the AfCFTA. The portal provides timely information, trade management tools and supply chain information related to the AfCFTA to business owners in the region.
Using the eTradeHubs portal, small business owners can gain access to vital AfCFTA trade information, including documents, licenses, permits, certificates, fees to be paid and estimated processing times. The portal simplifies trade processes and significantly reduces the time and cost of doing business for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the AfCFTA.
During a virtual event to mark the launch of the portal, ICC Secretary John W.H. Denton AO said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that digital access is indispensable to global prosperity. Not only will the eTradeHubs portal provide women-led businesses with the necessary tools and resources to grow, it will also advance the operationalisation of one of the world’s most important free trade areas – the AfCFTA. We are proud to join TRALAC, UPS, and West Blue Consulting to launch the eTradeHubs portal and establish an enabling environment for African businesswomen to thrive.”
Valentina Mintah, CEO and Founder of West Blue Consulting said:
“The eTradehubs portal aims to consolidate and build on the services of existing programmes, to provide the platform for digital tools, information and capacity building activities to ensure a skilled and optimized workforce for the expected adjustments to global supply chains and the future of work in the AfCFTA. West Blue Consulting is proud to partner with ICC, UPS and TRALAC on this regional initiative.”
Penelope Naas, President of UPS International Public Affairs & Sustainability said:
“As a global leader in the logistics and trade industry, UPS recognises the importance of inclusive international trade on a daily basis. A more connected world is a more prosperous world, highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, where the critical role of trade and e-commerce keep global economies afloat. We believe that in partnership with ICC, TRALAC and West Blue Consulting, we can move the world forward by enabling women entrepreneurs to leverage opportunities brought by the AfCFTA. The eTradeHubs portal is an excellent one-stop tool for women to navigate the export process, enabling them to expand their reach, grow their bottom line, hire more employees, and subsequently invest in and uplift their communities.”
Trudi Hartzenberg, Executive Director, Tralac said:
“The AfCFTA holds unprecedented opportunities for women-led businesses to trade, invest and participate in cross-border value chains. The eTradeHub is a one-stop portal with all the information required to ensure trade regulatory compliance. Tralac is proud to partner with ICC, UPS and West Blue Consulting to launch the eTradeHub, contributing to trade facilitation and so boosting intra-Africa trade.”
Mr Denton also announced that ICC will be offering 10 scholarships for ICC Academy’s Export/Import Certificate (EIC) to SMEs and entrepreneurs in Africa. The EIC is an advanced level professional qualification that provides comprehensive understanding of international trade processes and their related risks to successfully compete in foreign markets.
The Women Traders in the AfCFTA partnership is supported by ICC’s Centre of Entrepreneurship, a pioneering initiative to prepare and mobilise the next generation of entrepreneurs around the world. With regional hubs in Istanbul and Beirut, ICC will announce future hubs in Africa and South America in 2021, and the hubs in Africa will be used to implement the partnership’s programmes and reach out to SMES across the continent.
Earlier this week ICC celebrated Africa Day looking at a range of ways ICC is working to raise the voice of African business and pave the way for a sustained economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.