TradeMark Africa (TMA) in partnership with Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) through the support of Global Affairs Canada, have launched an online trade platform- iSOKO to support women in trade across East Africa
access and use vital and simplified information.
The platform will help unlock opportunities for participation, formalisation of businesses and growth in trade value.
“Having women at the centre of how we do development, foreign policy and trade, is effective, and helps us to meet our development objectives key among them poverty reduction,” said Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya Christopher Thornley. “iSOKO will go a long way in addressing the key market and information gaps that exist for women traders in cross-border trade.”
The web and mobile platform seeks to provide a regional marketplace to buy and sell goods, access vital trade and market information, find business management tools including bookkeeping, access verified service providers and networking opportunities with fellow traders
. This innovative tool is part of TradeMark Africa’s Women in Trade programme and was co-created and tested with different segments of traders across the region.
The platform, which was unveiled in Nairobi , will bring together women traders from five countries in the East African Community — Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi.
Dr Bruno Linyiru, the Secretary for Trade in the State Department for Trade, said the iSOKO portal will have a significant impact on the lives of women traders by increasing their income, improving their bargaining power and promoting their economic independence. “It is part of our broader efforts to promote gender equality and support women’s empowerment in all areas of our society.”
Other speakers included TMA Board Chairman Amb. Erastus Mwencha who observed that digital tools are enabling women from the region overcome multiple trade barriers and access more markets in the continent and beyond. “The global digital trade is estimated at US$ 5.2 trillion, and we want women traders in East Africa to attract a sizeable share of this trade. The platform we are launching today easily enhances market access by electronically connecting traders with their customers. TMA Deputy CEO Allen Asiimwe, who said the organization had been working with women traders in the region for over a decade. “With trade, women are able to grow their incomes and better their homes, communities and families.”