An online platform to support women entrepreneurs in Africa has been launched with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The 50 Million African Women Speak Networking Platform Project (50MWS) will provide financial and non-financial information to women entrepreneurs within the African continent including the East African Community (EAC).

The platform will enable women to interact and grow their businesses, according to Mary Makoffu, the EAC director of social services.

Alongside the EAC, 50MWS is also being implemented in three other regional blocs, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), the Common Market for Southern and Eastern Africa (Comesa) and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).
“This is a good opportunity for women in business in respective regional economic communities (RECS) to penetrate markets of other blocs”, Makoffu said.

In preparation for the new three-year project, the EAC secretariat recently conducted meetings targeting ministries responsible for Gender, ICT, Trade and EAC Affairs as well as the civil societies.
Each member state would, thereafter, be required to form respective country team that will help in collection of information to upload into the platform.

The ministries responsible for Gender in each country, which normally disburse funds to support women’s economic activities, will be in charge of 50MWS coordination.
The project will also contribute to reduce to zero gender that were observed during the surveys,” noted the project coordinator in the region.

Women entrepreneurs can use cellphones to targeted under the project and even those based in remote rural areas but using cellphones to access information circulated in the platform.