Dubai – More women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are set to gain the skills and resources they need to tap opportunities in international trade, with the announcement of a regional SheTrades Hub on the sidelines of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference.

The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Dubai Economic Development Corporation (DEDC) – Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to continue their collaboration on the SheTrades MENA Hub, hosted by DEDC.

Through the partnership, the Hub will continue to serve as a resource centre for women entrepreneurs in the region, offering business-related skills trainings, ITC SheTrades resources and market access opportunities to scale up their businesses.

ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton was joined by Mr. Mohammed Al Kamali, Chief Operating Officer, Manufacturing and Export Development, Dubai Economic Development Corporation, at the signing ceremony.

‘The trading system we have must be a more inclusive one, one in which women have the skills and support they need to seize market opportunities,’ said Coke-Hamilton. ‘The SheTrades MENA Hub helps ensure women in this region have the resources they need to grow their businesses, through trade.’

Mohammed Al Kamali, COO, Manufacturing and Export Development, DEDC, commented: “We take great pride in upholding our commitment and continuity to supporting female entrepreneurship. This is embedded at the core of our mission at the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, aligning with the aspiration of our visionary leadership to create opportunities for women to shine in various spheres, as well as empowering women entrepreneurs to thrive and play a pivotal role in the growth and dynamism of their countries’ economy. This is evident in the UAE’s announcement of allocating $5 million to the Women Exporters in the Digital Economy (WEIDE) Fund, which is a joint initiative launched by the World Trade Organization and the International Trade Center (ITC) with a budget of $50 million. The SheTrades MENA initiative exemplifies our common goal of promoting women's entrepreneurship, and its continued focus on this key segment of the business sector underscores our aim to foster a conducive environment where women-owned businesses can flourish, connect with global markets, and inspire each other towards greater success.”

Beyond supporting women-led businesses in the region to unlock new markets, the SheTrades MENA Hub has also contributed to the efforts of the ITC SheTrades initiative to promote the gender and trade agenda on a global scale.

Earlier this year, SheTrades MENA presented opportunities to over 130 women-led businesses to export to the region, including by tapping into e-commerce markets in the region. The Hub had supported the WTO ITC High-Level Event on Women and Trade, a two-day conference on women’s economic empowerment, preceding the start of negotiations by the WTO’s highest decision-making body. More than 250 women entrepreneurs from over 60 countries, as well as global business leaders and international development partners gathered to discuss concrete solutions to the challenges facing women entrepreneurs and explored opportunities for women to access new markets in an increasingly green and digital global trading system.

About ITC

The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, visit
Follow ITC on X | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Flickr

About ITC SheTrades Initiative

The International Trade Centre (ITC) launched the ITC SheTrades Initiative to remove barriers to women's participation in trade by working with governments, the private sector and entrepreneurs to build the business capacities of women and to create a fairer, more sustainable global economy.

ITC SheTrades provides women entrepreneurs and producers with access to key knowledge, resources and networks; supports policymakers on inclusive policy reforms; and leverages public and private partnerships to amplify the impact of the work.

About ITC SheTrades Hubs

ITC SheTrades Hubs are decentralized platforms through which the SheTrades Initiative delivers in-country interventions. Administered by local institutions, SheTrades Hubs help increase the sustainability of the Initiative’s in-country interventions by promoting local ownership through a participatory approach and alignment with national and sectoral priorities. They also aim to improve the business support ecosystem and facilitate the development of a community of partners to enable women-led businesses to trade. 

About Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET)

With the ultimate vision of making Dubai the world’s leading commercial centre, investment hub and tourism destination, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) is mandated to support the Government in positioning the emirate as a major hub for global economy and tourism, and in boosting the city’s economic and tourism competitiveness indicators, in line with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, which aims to double the size of the emirate’s economy and consolidate its position among the top three global cities over the next decade.

Under this remit, DET is driving efforts to further enhance Dubai’s diversified, innovative service-based economy to attract top global talent, deliver a world-class business environment and accelerate productivity growth. Additionally, DET is supporting Dubai’s vision to become the world’s best city to live and work in by promoting its diverse destination proposition, unique lifestyle and outstanding quality of life, overall.

DET is the principal authority for planning, supervising, developing and marketing Dubai’s business and tourism sectors. It is also responsible for licensing and classifying all types of businesses, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. The DET portfolio includes Dubai Economic Development Corporation (DEDC), Dubai Business Licence Corporation (DBLC), Dubai Corporation for Consumer Protection and Fair Trade (DCCPFT), Dubai SME, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) and Dubai College of Tourism (DCT).

Media contacts
Edison Yap
Associate Economic Affairs Officer
International Trade Centre

For further information, please contact:
Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism