The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has called on women entrepreneurs to take advantage of the soon-to-be-enforced African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to boost their standard of living.
The southeast regional coordinator of the NEPC, Arnold Jackson made the call on Wednesday in Enugu during a workshop on ‘Packaging and Labeling of Products as a tool in Market Penetration Strategy’.
The workshop was organised by NEPC for women entrepreneurs comprising African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) and others. Jackson said that AfCFTA would provide a huge market where no fewer than 1.2 billion people would trade goods from different parts of the continent.
He said women are a critical aspect of the diversification policy of the Federal Government, adding that the council would do everything it can to empower them.
“The idea of this training is to take them through the basic principles of labelling and packaging so that their goods will meet international standards,” he said.
Jackson said that the women entrepreneurs in the region were already doing well, adding that their products could compete favourably with others from different parts of the country.
“We have women development programmes and a unit in NEPC that specifically deals with issues of women in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and export.
“The potentials are there and we cannot underrate what these women are doing. I marveled when I saw some of their products and I wonder what will happen if we expose them more,” he said.
Jackson urged the participants to take advantage of the workshop to prepare for the task ahead, especially when the African common market would open in January 2021.
In a presentation, the Founder, Ample Foods, Mrs. Aisha Ime-James, said that women must get it right for their products to flourish in the international market.
Ime-James said that much was happening on the international scene, adding that Nigerian women had the potential to compete in the global market.
The National Vice President, AWEP, Mrs. Tessy Igweani, said that they needed to get more women to join the export market. She said though funding was a major problem facing the women that such a challenge could be overcome if women could form clusters