Botswana: Women in business urged to utilise AGOA
Women in business have been encouraged to take advantage and participate in the lucrative US preferential trade scheme known as the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for better profits.
African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) chairperson, Chigedze Chinyepi said this when addressing women in business during AWEP’s capacity building workshop that was held at Tati River Lodge recently.
Chinyepi said Botswana is one of the eligible countries, but businesses are failing to utilise AGOA.
“This is worrisome; currently Botswana has only one company under AGOA, which is also owned by a Chinese man with locally-owned companies failing to export their products to the international markets.
AGOA is a window of opportunities which every company should strive to take advantage of for better profits,” said Chinyepi.
She said through AGOA, the country has derived preferential access to the US market for a range of products that local women entrepreneurs should consider producing and exporting to the US market. She said there are many sectors that women in business could take advantage of like natural indigenous products, arts and crafts, textile to mention but a few.
“Women entrepreneurs in Lesotho who deal with textile have grouped themselves and are utilising AGOA, something that I encourage you to consider investing on such sectors and help improve the country’s economy,” said Chinyepi.
She said through AGOA, women entrepreneurs could group themselves, open factories, employ thousands of Batswana and be able to produce in large quantities and sell their products to the US
Chinyepi warned women entrepreneurs to refrain from operating in isolation, but to unite and work together in order to reach the US market.
“The US market buys products in bulk and if you isolate yourself you might end up not meeting the order as well as failing to produce the required quantity of the products.”
She added: “Government has funded many people who manufacture similar products. Such people can group themselves and manufacture products in bulk”.
She said it is of concern that currently there are only a few women owned companies that supply their products to the neighbouring countries’ markets.
Officiating at the event, the city mayor Silvia Muzila shared Chinyepi’s sentiments, encouraging women in business to work together to supply the US market through AGOA.
Muzila also encouraged them to partner with organisations like AWEP to equip themselves with business management and financial management techniques that can surely help them improve the way they operate their businesses.
She said this could help them to be competitive and even better than their male counterparts.
Muzila congratulated AWEP to have included Francistown to be one of the places they will take their program me to, stating that it will equip and capacitate their women entrepreneurs with requisite skills to operate and expand their businesses regionally and internationally.