12th WTO Ministerial Conference: What do women in business need?

12 June 2022
ITC News

As MC12 opens, leaders of WTO, ITC reaffirm trade policy commitment for women, listen to views of women entrepreneurs and business support champions in a special session.  

The 12th WTO Ministerial conference kicks off today with a major side event that puts the voices of women in business at the forefront of trade policy.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and ITC Executive Director Ms. Pamela Coke Hamilton joined women entrepreneurs from India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Rwanda, along with trade policy experts from around the world at the side event, Unlocking Trade for Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development.

The event was attended by trade ministers, ambassadors of Geneva-based diplomatic missions, and international organization representatives.

Ms. Coke-Hamilton distilled ITC’s decades-long experience working with small and medium-sized enterprises into a story that illustrates the daily struggles of women entrepreneurs in developing countries:  access to finance and information, restricted mobility, heavy caregiving duties. While trade policy and business support for women has improved, there is still a long road ahead.

Women entrepreneurs from India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Rwanda – all of whom are members of the ITC SheTrades Initiative – reflected on their journeys as they moved into global markets.

The entrepreneurs were: Mobola Sagoe, Shea Origin, Nigeria; Madhumita Sarkar Guha, Luxe Living, India; Yohanna Keraf, Du Anyam, Indonesia; Agnes Mukamushinja, Nova Coffee, Rwanda.

Trade experts were: Abu Bakar Yusof, Deputy CEO, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation; Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, Founder, Bamboo Capital Partners; Cheryl D. Mills, Founder, BlackIvy Group, USA. The moderator was Susanna Pak of the WTO Standards Trade Development Facility.

ITC is also featuring a side event together with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Small business, big in e-commerce, on Monday 13 June, from 11:00-11.45, at ITC headquarters. Register to attend.