UAE -  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 recently 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 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, said: “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 United Arab Emirates’ announcement of allocating $5 million to the Women Exporters in the Digital Economy Fund, which is a joint initiative launched by the World Trade Organization and 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.

Ahead of the WTO Ministerial Conference, the Hub supported the WTO-ITC High-Level Event on Women and Trade, a two-day conference on women’s economic empowerment.

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.

Earlier this year, the SheTrades MENA Hub presented regional export opportunities to over 130 women-led businesses, including by tapping into e-commerce markets.  

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