COMESA and the Government of Madagascar Host the 5th COMFWB Trade Fair & Business Conference

With key Support from UNDP Zimbabwe

July 4, 2024

zimbabwe's Exhibition Stand at the COMESA Federation of Women In Business

Antananarivo, Madagascar – July 1, 2024 – The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), in collaboration with the Government of Madagascar, proudly hosted the 5th COMESA Federation of Women in Business (COMFWB) Trade Fair & Business Conference in Antananarivo on June 28th and 29th, 2024. Themed “Enhancing Participation of Women Entrepreneurs in the COMESA Regional Markets under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) focusing on Green Investment, Value Addition, and Tourism.” The event aimed to facilitate trade among women entrepreneurs and promote the development of policies supporting women in business.

A cornerstone of the event's success was the pivotal role played by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Zimbabwe. Through its Economic Governance Project, UNDP Zimbabwe supported ten women entrepreneurs, enabling them to showcase their products and services at the trade fair. This initiative is part of UNDP Zimbabwe's broader efforts to promote prosperity pathways for women and youth-led Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) within the AfCFTA framework.

The Zimbabwean exhibitors, empowered by UNDP Zimbabwe, represented a dynamic group of women entrepreneurs showcasing their talents and innovations across various sectors including:
•    Women in Agriculture: Pioneering sustainable practices and contributing to community nutrition.
•    Technology: Driving digital transformation, skill development, and technological advancements.
•    Furniture Making: Crafting high-quality, beautiful furniture to enhance living spaces.
•    Beading: Creating intricate designs that celebrate Zimbabwe's rich cultural heritage.
•    Value Addition of Fruits: Innovating in food processing and preservation to turn local produce into premium products.
•    Travel and Tourism: Promoting Zimbabwe's cultural and scenic beauty, boosting the tourism industry.
•    Finance: Providing financial services, empowering women through financial literacy, and offering access to capital and interest-free loans.
•    Waste Management: Recycling waste into handmade crafts and ornaments, promoting sustainability.

Chipo Mandela, one of the entrepreneurs supported by UNDP Zimbabwe, highlighted the event's significance during her interview with a local Madagascar news channel. She stated, “This is a powerful congregation of women as it allows us to network, posing opportunities to increase regional trade.”

The trade fair and business conference, significantly bolstered by UNDP Zimbabwe's support, provided a valuable platform for MSMEs to engage with service providers on regulations related to free trade areas and the services they offer, enabling MSMEs to access the benefits of the AfCFTA. The exhibition facilitated linkages and opportunities for businesses from various African countries, promoting regional trade for women and youth-led MSMEs.

Zimbabwe team award presantation

The COMFWB Zimbabwe Chapter was honored as the Best Exhibitor of the Year at the COMESA Federation of Women in Business Conference and Trade Fair, a testament to the impact of UNDP Zimbabwe's support. This award recognized the diversity and quality of products exhibited, the flow of visitors to the stand, the number of exhibitors, and the effectiveness of marketing and public relations.

In addition to the best exhibition award, UNDP Zimbabwe was recognized for its invaluable contribution and support during the event. On the sidelines of the event, UNDP organized a Master Class focusing on empowering women entrepreneurs to unlock market potential through COMESA and AfCFTA. The Master Class provided valuable insights and strategies for women entrepreneurs to leverage regional trade agreements and enhance their market readiness.

For more information, please contact:
UNDP Zimbabwe Communications

COMESA is a regional economic community comprising 21 Member States committed to achieving sustainable economic and social progress through increased cooperation and integration.

About UNDP Zimbabwe
UNDP Zimbabwe promotes sustainable development, prosperity, and equality by supporting initiatives that empower women and youth-led enterprises within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).