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Vibrant sustainable economies require the full inclusion and participation of all citizens and especially women, a joint statement by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) says. This should be anchored on creating opportunities for decent work driven by innovation and infrastructure development. Revenue authorities, due to their strategic role in trade within countries, are best positioned to initiate and marshal women participation in trade.
TMEA and URA made the statement while signing an MOU on Wednesday afternoon, during TMEA’s celebration of Women’s Day. International Women’s Day is celebrated globally on 8th March.
The MOU stipulates the two institutions commitment to scale ongoing initiatives already undertaken by the revenue authority under the banner Women Traders Trade Facilitation Framework. Building the capacity of women in trade and simplifying customs clearance processes and procedures will be the core of the initiatives supported. Further, the two institutions will advocate for gender responsiveness among partners and stakeholders, improve access to trade information and build platforms that will enhance communication between URA and women traders.
Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) CEO Mr. Frank Matsaert said that ensuring women participation at all levels of trade and supporting pragmatic interventions that resolve women unique challenges can only be done if the private and public sector build partnerships. This, he said is pivotal to East Africa’s economic transformation. “It is crucial to ensure that all its citizens, especially women, are involved in trade and other economic activities,” said Mr. Matsaert, adding that he hopes the MOU will lead to the implementation of transformative projects in Uganda which can be scaled up to other countries. Mr. Matsaert emphasized TMEA’s commitment to ensuring that women integrate more fully into productive, high-paid sectors of the economy.
URA Commissioner of Customs Dickson Kateshumbwa on his part said, “We have partnered with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) in implementing various interventions like the automation of key customs processes and Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System; and to great success. To mention that this new partnership is probably one of the most important we have cultivated to date because it is about deliberately building the economic capacity of half of Uganda’s population. URA takes women to cross border traders in Uganda seriously. Already, we are simplifying the regional trade policies and agreements as well as building working relationships with women traders to foster a better environment.”
Research has shown that if women’s paid employment were raised to the same level as men’s, the per capita income of 15 major economies would rise by 14% by 2020. TMEA’s work across East Africa is driven by this fact and the realization that trade has no gender. Establishing linkages between trade opportunities and women’s economic empowerment will result to better livelihoods for families and reduced poverty levels.
The signing of the MOU has marked the beginning of a vibrant public and private sector partnership specific to empowering women traders.