Women’s role in reviving the economy post-COVID-19 is crucial and needs some engagements in that regard to empower more women, Daniel Antwi – Executive Director of the Africa Skills Hub, has expressed.
This, he noted, is due to women’s dominance and contribution in the informal sector – which happens to be the focal point of most economies in the world, especially Africa.
“When you look at COVID-19 in the context of our GDP, definitely – across the continent – we have over 98 percent of MSMEs being the focal point of our GDP as a continent. You have a lot of businesses in the informal sector that add up to our GDP as a continent. And the interesting thing is that most of the informal sectors are being spearheaded by women, so women play a key role when it comes to growth of our economy as Africa,” he said.
Mr. Antwi made these remarks at a virtual launch of the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Initiative (WELI), an initiative of Africa Skills Hub in partnership with Canada World Youth. WELI seeks to address the challenges of COVID-19 through an initiative that is a gender-based approach to economic empowerment that helps women and young people to play a role in the recovery of economies post-COVID-19.
“Definitely, once COVID-19 brings a big effect on the economic aspects of our continent, we are sure that the lives of our women have been affected, too; and so a gender-responsive initiative such as WELI is something we are excited about,” Mr. Antwi noted.
The initiative will be rolled out in Ghana’s Northern and Volta Regions and Senegal, and is estimated to reach about 6,752 young women in Ghana and about 3,250 in Senegal, and indirectly is expected to benefit about 50,000 women in targetted project areas.
Anatu Ben-Lawal, who is the WELI Programmes Director, noted that the programme will offer post-training assistance to COVID-19-affected adolescent girls and young women entrepreneurs.
She added that the programme will facilitate partnerships with investors to support beneficiaries after training, and also offer access to markets and other opportunities to be able to maintain their livelihoods in response to COVID-19.
In her remarks at the launch, Susan Handrigan – President and CEO of Canada World Youth, emphasised that the effect of COVID-19 on economies also translates into the effects on the security of young women and girls; hence her outfit’s decision to partner in the said initiative.
“This health pandemic has had a devastating effect on the economy, but also on the safety and security of young women and girls around the world. And WELI was designed with all this in mind – the stimulation of the economy in both Ghana and Senegal, and also to empower young women and girls in these regions,” she noted.
She also assured that the initiative will make an impact in rebuilding global economies which have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic over the last year.
Canada World Youth is a non-for profit organisation located in Canada, dedicated to the empowerment of young people around the world.
Africa Skills Hub is a youth employment accelerator and business incubator that aims at building Africa’s next generational change agents through practical and accessible learning and coaching tools, delivered online and offline using career pathways modules. The CPM comprises digital skills, leadership skills and entrepreneurial skills.