Unveiling the EWASME Project for Women-Led Prosperity in West Africa

Empowering West African Women Small & Medium Enterprises

December 5, 2023
Event Details

07 - 08 December 2023

Dakar, Senegal

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and funded by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) of the World Bank, is excited to announce the launch of the EWASME (Empowering West African Women Small & Medium Enterprises) program. This initiative, spanning across Senegal, Guinea, Niger, and Sierra Leone, aims to empower over 1000 women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises in the rice value chain.

Objectives of the Launch Event:

  • Empower women and strengthen local rice value chains to reduce poverty and enhance food security in Guinea, Niger, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.
  • Implement a comprehensive initiative combining training, access to finance, and business linkages to strengthen the post-production capacity of at least 1000 women-owned or led enterprises in the local rice value chains.
  • Elevate the economic status of women engaged in agriculture and rural enterprises over a 5-year timeframe (2022-2027).
  • Conduct community outreach and dialogues to address norms limiting women's engagement, and share identified policy and customary barriers with policymakers to garner broad support for change.
  • Strengthen financial institutions to better serve Women-Led Small and Medium Enterprises (WSMEs) and Very Small Enterprises (WSVEs). This includes designing and marketing financial products tailored to their needs and providing staff with the necessary knowledge and skills to offer enhanced support to female clients and entrepreneurs.
  • Overcome regulatory and traditional barriers hindering the development of women-owned businesses in rice value chains through community outreach, policy advocacy, and financial institution capacity-building. Create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs by addressing norms and practices impeding their engagement in entrepreneurial activities.
  • Boost market access for Women-Led Small and Medium Enterprises (WSMEs) and Very Small Enterprises (WSVEs) through strategic business linkages, partnerships, and capacity development initiatives.
  • Tackle gender-specific obstacles faced by women in trade, limiting their participation and perpetuating economic disparities.
  • Recognize and leverage the significant contributions of women in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to rice production, labor inputs, distribution, and sales.
  • Acknowledge the pivotal role of women in West Africa's food security, economic development, and poverty reduction by supporting their active participation in the highly demanded and traded staple – rice.