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Kenya Trade Mission: West Meets East Africa

Dateline: Tuesday, March 21, 2023. The Kenya trip by the Nigerian delegates comprising members of the Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE) Nigeria Chapter commenced having arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos

Penpushing reports that the delegation led by the National President of Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE) Nigeria Chapter, Iyalode Alaba Lawson boarded Qatar and Ethiopian airlines and landed safely into the East Africa country

The delegates were on arrival at the Jomo Kenyetta International Airport led to their hotels in preparation for the conference to join their counterparts for the Africa for trade mission, business tour in Nairobi, Kenya Capital

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Penpushing further reports that on Wednesday March 22,203, the team moved to Movenpick Hotel and Residences located at Mkungu Close, Westminster, Nairobi, Kenya Capital venue of the four-day conference under the auspices of Economic of West African States (ECOWAS)

The East Africa Business Council partnered with Compass Global Business Services to host the event; which is targeted towards connecting the West and East of Africa in line with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) opportunity, and geared to strengthen private sector participation especially in the space of exports, and in international trade.

Penpushing also reports that the East African Business Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of private sector associations and corporates in the East Africa with a single purpose of driving the East African Community integration process through trade and investment.

The East African Business Council (EABC) is to achieve this works with the public sector, East African Community (EAC) institutions, the academia, and the business community to unlock economic potential through increased physical access to markets, enhanced trade environment and improved business competitiveness.

Penpushing reports that Compass Global Business Services specializes in International Trade/Investment Promotion and provides access to Business Linkages, New Markets/ Market Intelligence to Africa’s Brand seeking to leverage the Global Market, while a key thrust of Compass’ work has been the areas of Business Development and New Markets Entry Strategies for Africa / International brands.

The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, East African Business Council Mr. John Bosco Kalisa explained that objective of the East African Business Council(EABC) is to amplify Intra-Africa Trade through event such as the West meets East Africa Trade Mission and Business Development

Penpushing further reports that at the conference the Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE) Nigeria Chapter excited the hall and participants with their products which recorded positive wave at the event, as findings showed that number of their displayed products became hot cake for number of guests and other personalities at the event.

The theme of the conference is ‘Unlocking the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Opportunity and Youths: Leveraging Regional Value Chain Opportunities and Business Linkages to Improve Intra-Africa Trade’

Penpushing further reports that the Nigerian organisations on ground with their products include: Lawson Group of Schools (Services), Anthrop Management Limited (Training, Recruitment and Business Development), Kitfem School of Fashion Technology) and Natureffects Limited (African Palmwine)

The other participants at the well-attended conference include: Penpushing Media Services, TK Adire Turban and Fascinator, Hayhud Nigeria Limited (Locust Beans), Simply Natural Nigeria Limited,Owa Foods and AgroAllied Products Limited, Great Imperial(Training of Vocational Skills), Bayado Divine Ventures(Cosmetic and Toiletries Production) and 3pple I Caroline Integrated

Penpushing also reports that others are: Sofi Foods, Commonwealth Business Women Network, Strategic Women and Youth Institute Nigeria, Helen Genius Agro Products Limited, Zucchini Fashion Centre, Funky J.J Cornerstone Foods Limited , Thelma Farms Limited(Export of Fresh Vegetables) and Demi’s Frozen and Band B Fish

The Iyalode of Yorubaland who is the President of Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE) Nigeria Chapter in her speech explained that the West Meets East Africa is designed to instigate the mainstreaming of Women Entrepreneurs into international trade.

Penpushing reports that she said this is by providing suitable avenues for their match-making, market access and towards business linkages that will foster intra Africa trade and promote exports, adding that the programme organized by Compass Global in partnership with Economic Community for West Africa States (ECOWAS) and Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE) and host of other strategic partners

‘A key outcome of the process is to facilitate networking, collaboration and partnerships between the West Africa. Women entrepreneurs, and their regional and international counterparts to promote intra Africa trade, and partnerships between the regions against the backdrop of AfCFTA”, Lawson added

Penpushing further reports that she pointed out that the West Meets East Trade Mission was also uniquely positioned to engage participants with counterparts across sub-region for vital learning, exchange of ideas, and critical market intelligence to prepare them for leverage Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and to fast track their market access into East Africa and other regions

The Nigerian team leader thanked the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission for the support towards mobilizing strong delegation to attend the event, affirming that the launch of the multi-agency engagement as successful

Penpushing also reports that notable dignitaries and participants include:Nde Isatou Jallow(President Gambia ECOWAS Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE), Hajia Marie Bob Kandeh(Vice President  Sierra Leone Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE),Otunba  Gbemisola Oduntan(Deputy National Coordinator 1) who led the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network, Tola Omole(Deputy National Coordinator 2), Ambassador Akadira Aminou(Executive Director Federation of West Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and Mrs Tokunbo Chiedu(Chief Executive Officer Compass Global)

The Consul General Sierera Leonne High Commission in Nigeria, Beatrice Kallay in her brief remarks appreciated the participants from the participating countries, adding that the Economic Community for West Africa States made clear that women are relevant in nation’s growth.

Penpushing reports that she said it is expected that women are supposed to trade freely across the regions, but noted that there are barriers hindering the opportunities, which need to the tackled and get lasting solution.

The High Commissioner encouraged participants to ensure that connections individually made at the conference are well utilized and done with good heart for their benefits, African nations and the world at large

‘Trade between East and West Africa should be a reality. I want to call women to work hard, we can do it perfectly .Together everybody has more. Let us see that connection we are making are done with good heart

Penpushing further reports that Hajia Kandeh, Vice President Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE) Sierra Leonein her comments emphasized that without women nothing can be done right, hence, need to always recognize roles of the womenfold.

‘As for us in Sierra Leone we are doing our best. Without women nothing can go right. We are partner in progress. We engaged in peaceful resolution of the crisis. Let us encourage younger ones’, Kandeh stated

Penpushing also reports that Kandeh cautioned women in business in ensuring that they work and transact their businesses in line with the law of the land, stressing that they should do away with illegality

The Gambia President of Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE), Ndey Jallow said she was convinced that the conference gives opportunity to women entrepreneurs to explore market into the regional and International Trade and to show knowledge and experiences

‘From my experience, the context of our Gmabian business environment, women are pivotal actors in the economic sector, but however, they face high trade barriers. Women entrepreneurs lack of fund relevant for international marketing activities hinder the progress on businesses’, she added

‘They also lack access to production inputs such as assests in th form of modern productions equipment necessarily to meet international standards. Women play a very important role in our economy, so empowering women economically especially through their involvement in trade, create job opportunities for everyone’, Fallow stated

Penpushing further reports that the Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE), boss emphasized that the conference was designed for participants to promote Intra-Africa Trade, adding that it is going to be the beginning of West and East Africa export opportunities

‘We brought our locally made products from our respective countries and hope this is going to be the beginning of West and East Africa export opportunities. I wish to that ECPWAS Commission for sponsoring ECOWAS FEBWE participants to attend this important event’, she stressed

Penpushing reports that within the four-day conference and tours the team leader Iyalode Alaba Lawson in company of members of the  of Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE) Nigeria took time to meet the leadership of Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The second Vice President of Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Fatimah El Maawy while welcoming the delegation disclosed that the Kenya Government  was concluding arrangements and  plans to promote greater trade and investment with the Nigerian Government which is aimed to strengthened economic ties and increase trade volumes between the two countries.

Penpushing reports that the Kenya Chambers boss noted that Kenya and Nigeria are both important players in their respective regions, with Nigerian being the largest economy in Africa and Kenya being a major economic hub in East Africa.

The Chambers leadership emphasized that as such, there are many opportunities for trade and investment between the two countries, but however, noted that there are some challenges to increasing trade between the two countries, including differences in regulations and standards, high transportation costs, and a lack of direct flights between the two countries.

‘One area of potential growth is in the agricultural sector, where Kenya has a competitive advantage in horticultural products and tea, while Nigeria is a major producer of cocoa and palm oil. There is also scope for increased trade in manufactured goods, particularly in the areas of textiles, footwear and processed foods’, she said

Penpushing also reports that Maawy disclosed that in addition to trade in goods, there is also potential for increased cooperation in the services sector, particularly in the areas such as financial services, technology and tourism

‘There are already some Nigerian companies operating in Kenya, such as Guaranty Trust Bank, while Kenya firms such as Equity Bank and Safaricom have also expanded into Nigerian market. To facilitate trade and investment, both governments have taken steps to reduce barriers and promote greater cooperation’, she added

Penpushing reports that Maawy recalled that in 2019, Kenya and Nigeria signed a bilateral agreement to strengthen economic ties, while the two countries also participate in the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) which aims to create a single market for goods and services across the continent

The President of Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE) Nigeria, earlier in her speech said the Federation was in the East country on trade missions and business development tours

Penpushing further reports that Lawson explained that the West Meets East Africa is designed to instigate the mainstreaming of Women Entrepreneurs into international trade, adding that this is by providing suitable avenues for their match-making, market access and towards business linkages that will foster intra Africa trade and promote exports.

The women leader in Nigeria  added that the programme organized by Compass Global in partnership with Economic Community for West Africa States (ECOWAS)  and Federation of Women Business Entrepreneurs (FEBWE) and host of other strategic partners

‘A key outcome of the process is to facilitate networking, collaboration and partnerships between the West Africa. Women entrepreneurs, and their regional and international counterparts to promote intra Africa trade, and partnerships between the regions against the backdrop of AfCFTA”, Lawson added

Penpushing further reports that she pointed out that the West Meets East Trade Mission was also uniquely positioned to engage participants with counterparts across sub-region for vital learning, exchange of ideas, and critical market intelligence to prepare them for leverage Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and to fast track their market access into East Africa and other regions

The Nigerian team leader thanked the Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) for the support towards aimed to strengthen economic ties and increase trade volumes between the two countries.

Penpushing also reports in attendance at the meeting alongside the 2nd Vice President of Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry include: Charles Kahuthu(Regional Coordinator East African Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture, Diana Onditi(Communications Officer Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and Catherine Wairimu(Customer Relations Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry) among others

The Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur Nigeria also took time  to visit the Nigerian High Commission in Kenya, where number of their products were donated to the commission, and Lawson in her speech told the High Commission that the team was in the country to pave was for robust business and trade with the East Africa countries,

Penpushing further reports that on the invitation of Ooni of Ife, a first class traditional ruler in Nigeria, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who was in the country on a business trip, Lawson led the team on a courtesy visit to the royal father

The Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE) Nigeria during the visit appointed Ogunwusi as its grand patron at the conferment ceremony held at Radisson Blue Hotel, in Nairobi, Kenya Capital.

Penpushing also reports that Lawson the National President of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE) Nigeria, made the pronouncement which was warmly welcomed by the monarch.

The group President  accompanied by her team while pronouncing the monarch as the federation grand patron explained that the decision was reached considering the track records of Ogunwusi in businesses and other sectors

Penpushing reports that the pronouncement of the royal father as the grand patron ignited excitement from members of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE) Nigeria and other guests at the brief events

‘Kabiyesi we are members of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE) Nigeria to pay you a courtesy call. We are in Kenya for trade missions and business development tours and we also deem it to pay you homage. By the power confer on me, I wish to announce the conferment on you as our grand patron’, Lawson said

Penpushing also reports the monarch in response could not hide his joyous mood, announcing his acceptance of the honour and took time to express his appreciation, stressing that he would not disappoint nor let the federation down

The Ooni of Ife assured the Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE) Nigeria of his maximum support, stressing that as individual members and as a body, he would do everything at his disposal to open door of successful businesses for them.

‘I must say this, I am excited and I am happy and I want to assure you that I will be will you. I will support your businesses as individual and as a federation. I will want to host all of you royally back home. I will fund all logistics’, Ogunwusi declared

Penpushing reports that the National Coordinator of Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE) Nigeria, Ms Omotola Omole in her brief speech pointed out the relevance of the conference to the entire businesses across African continent.

The Coordinator expressed optimism that with the berth of the collaboration of the West Meets East Africa summit, the Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE) across African nations have number of things to gain.

Penpushing also reports that in her own contributions, National Secretary and Project Coordinator of Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE), Mrs Dorcas James said the West Meets East Africa  and Bussiness  Development tours was a great event with potential to open business linkages

The National Secretary and Project Coordinator of the group stated that the women entrepreneurs had opportunity to showcase their goods and services and form business alliance with counterparts in the region

Penpushing reports that  cross sections of the participants who spoke during an interview expressed appreciation to the leadership of  Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE), Nigeria for offering them the opportunities to expose their products to the world with the conference.

The participants confirmed that the trip has further opened their eyes for international trade and they were able to make needed contacts to further promote their various businesses across the African continent, expressing optimism that the objectives have come to stay

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