Pretoria, South Africa: NAMA Women Advancement (NAMA), a leading international women’s empowerment establishment headquartered in Sharjah, UAE, has crossed a new milestone by successfully enabling 16,000 women-owned enterprises to be absorbed into the value chains of South Africa.
The landmark achievement follows four years of strategic efforts under the ‘Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs’ Flagship Programme Initiative (FPI), which NAMA launched in South Africa and the UAE in partnership with the UN-Women in 2018 to remove structural barriers to gender equality and foster women’s economic empowerment.
Implemented in partnership with UN-Women, governments, the private sector, investors, civil society, women entrepreneurs, and women’s enterprise associations, projects initiated under FPI have enhanced the capacities of more than 16,000 women-owned enterprises to participate in various value chains, while also spearheading high-level advocacy and dialogue to place gender-responsive procurement as a strategic lever for driving women’s enterprise development.
A total of 6,452 women entrepreneurs have benefited from skills and capacity development programmes, enhancing their participation in procurement processes and increasing their access to business opportunities, income, and growth.
The results of the ongoing programme were discussed by NAMA, UN-Women, officials from the South African government, private sector signatories of Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), over a series of roundtables conducted during NAMA’s five-day field visit to South Africa.
These discussions assessed the programme’s progress, areas for improvement and new opportunities to expand FPI’s footprints in empowering women entrepreneurs worldwide based on the South African experience.
During their field visits, the NAMA delegation led by HE Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA, were joined by prominent officials including HE Mahash Saeed Al Hameli, UAE Ambassador to South Africa; and Fatima Yousuf Al Suwaidi, First Secretary at the UAE Embassy in South Africa.
Positive, tangible outcomes for women across South Africa
Leveraging the technology of Buyfromwomen, an innovative e-commerce platform, the project has connected Women Owned Enterprises (WOEs) in Energy, Transport, Agriculture and General Entrepreneurship to improved access to markets.
With x7 modules, the Learning Management System (LMS) assisted women in assessing online self-paced training during Covid-19. Of the 3,693 women who were profiled, 1,264 enrolled on the LMS.
UN-Women’s advocacy efforts further delivered results when the President of South Africa earmarked 40 percent of public procurement projects for women-owned enterprises.