Bridging the Gap for African Women in Business meeting is convened by Ida Horner of Ethnic Supplies and the Trustees of the Charity Let Them Help Themselves out of Poverty a community development and UK Registered, ahead of International Women’s Day 2013.
The meeting focuses on the Supply chains of Multi National Corporations (MNCs) and brings together Business Executives from MNCs, women who run Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa, Donors and academics.
According to the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) Women account for 60% of the world’s working poor but own less than 10% of the world’s property. Discriminatory practices at workplaces, in regulation and in the home stifle women’s entrepreneurial drive. Investing in women can be transformational.
Whilst Research commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that many international food companies could improve crop productivity and quality, grow the smallholder supply base and improve access to high value markets when they increase women participation
However in spite of such evidence problems for African Women in business persist and the same research identifies some of the challenges faced by women in the agriculture sector but these problems could be true for other sectors
1. Fewer women are members of company contract farming schemes than men
2. Many companies source from established producer groups, yet women are typically underrepresented in both membership and governance of these groups
3. On male owned farms, female family members do much of the work, yet receive little of the income from crop sales, and have little say about how that income is spent
4. Women are much less likely than men to benefit from technical training and extension programs
5. Sustainability certification schemes are also less likely to benefit women than men
Within that context the meeting will explore the opportunities that exist for African Women to join the supply chains of MNCs as well as the business case for women being part of such supply chains both as suppliers of goods and services.
The findings from this event will be fed back to Business Fights Poverty a network of Business Professionals, Multinational companies, Academics and Donors. The findings will also inform a separate piece of work that is underway at the Centre for Africa Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London
The event in Uganda will be will be split into two sessions,
1. The morning session will be for invited guests only. The session will focus on equipping delegates with practical skills in the following areas; use of Social Media as a marketing tool, networking skills for business success
2. The afternoon session is a business discussion and will feature two panel sessions;
a. The first panel will comprise of female Business Executives who will explore the challenges they face in getting women to supply into MNCs
Dr. Maggie Kigozi- Director, Crown Beverages
Olive Kigongo- President, Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Managing Director, Amagara Skin Care
Amina Hersi Moghe – Proprietor, Kingstone Enterprises Limited
Ms. Cornelia K. Sabiiti – Executive Director, Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority
Dorothy Tuma – Consultant, DMT Consult Ltd
b. The second panel will comprise of East African women in Business who are successfully supplying into MNCs
Jennifer Mwijukye – Managing Director, Unifreight Cargo Handling Services
Maria Odido Difonzo – Chief Executive Officer, Bee Natural Uganda Ltd
Julian Omalla Adyeri – Managing Director Delight Uganda Limited
Josephine Okot – Managing Director Victoria Seeds Ltd
Prudence Ukkonika- Managing Director K-roma Enterprises
Hope Kabirisi – Managing Director, Perfect Roses Farm Ltd
The event is sponsored by