23 March 2019

New initiative aims at transforming economic lives of women in Least Developed Countries

by Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) / in Press release

TOKYO – 23 MARCH 2019 – Across the world’s 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), women continue to face constraints that limit their participation in trade. A just-launched initiative is exclusively targeting the economic empowerment of those women with a US$10 million investment.

Women face numerous barriers to business that include access to finance, discriminatory laws and social norms that restrict mobility. In LDCs, these limitations can be magnified – and directly addressing them can have an outsized impact on livelihoods and economies.

The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) ‘Empower Women, Power Trade’ initiative will work in partnership with LDC governments where EIF has a mandate. Focusing on both the policy and practice sides of trade development (and drawing from EIF’s decade of experience with both), the result is an initiative with a holistic approach to women’s economic empowerment that is designed to make the most impact.

G20 countries have a major role to play in transforming the lives of women in the world’s poorest countries, as investors, donors and partners in development cooperation. As stated in the 2018 G20’s Leaders’ Declaration, gender equality is crucial for economic growth and sustainable development. The role the W20 plays in closing the gender gap is essential, and ‘Empower Women, Power Trade’ aligns with the W20’s conviction and is the reason for this action – directed at the world’s most disadvantaged women. 

EIF, housed at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), hopes this will be the start of a new collaboration with the W20 to create prosperity for women in 47 countries. EIF works in partnership with institutions such as the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and with funder support from G20 countries Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Japan has been an integral EIF funding partner since 2008, and we are pleased to announce our initiative in Tokyo in conjunction with Japan’s leadership of the W20 this year. ‘Empower Women, Power Trade’ aims at shaping policy and bringing women into decision-making bodies as active and equal participants, as does the W20’s policy proposals on equity and governance.

The initiative is unique because in-country coordination and partnerships with trade ministries means EIF is best placed to affect policy and target the right communities – linking government action to those on the ground we aim to impact. EIF’s unique position in partnership with the WTO and as a catalyst for further funding means we can ensure support extends far and wide.

EIF Deputy Executive Director Annette Ssemuwemba officially announced ‘Empower Women, Power Trade’ on 23 March 2019 in the ‘Creation of New Market Value by Women Entrepreneurs’ panel at the W20 Tokyo 2019.

US$10 million. 4 years. 47 LDCs. 50,000 women. Entrepreneurs, women in government and cross-border traders, to name a few, ‘Empower Women, Power Trade’ is putting women at the centre of the LDC trade landscape.


Header image - A woman carries her daughter near Punakha, Bhutan, December 14, 2017. ©REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Any views and opinions expressed on Trade for Development News are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect those of EIF.