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'Women are the most important resource in Africa'

by Victoria Ruzvidzo
01 Mar 2014 at 04:20hrs | Views
Turkey - Africa is poised for growth but can only achieve its full potential if women are given due space in the development process, the deputy chairperson of the African Union, Mr Erasmus Mwencha, has said.

Officially opening the Turkey Africa Women Entrepreneurs Trade Bridge here yesterday, Mr Mwencha said Africa was on a renaissance, Herald reported.

"Women are the most important resource on the continent but they have been marginalised for too long. If we leave them behind it will be like a two-engine plane flying with one engine . . . will it go anywhere?" he said

It was a gross anomaly that women contributed at least 50 percent of production output and yet owned 1 percent of assets on the continent, including land, he said.

More than 800 women of whom 350 are from Africa and the balance from Turkey, are attending the conference which seeks to foster business ties between women from the continent and their counterparts in this East European country.

Exhibitions held yesterday included companies from the textile and clothing sectors, manufacturing, information and communication technology, tourism, interior designing and leather sectors.

Zimbabwe is represented by at least 10 businesswomen, at the conference being hosted by the Turkish Confederation of Businesses and Industrialists (Tuskon) and the African Union.

Tuskon deputy secretary-general of Africa and Middle East Mr Timur Tigdemir said Zimbabwe was a critical economic player on the African continent

"Recent economic trends show that Zimbabwe is an important destination for investment and trade partnership with its abundant natural resources, progressive economic development and tremendous opportunities for potential investors.

"We consider Africa as a preferential continent to establish and strengthen economic relations and believe that there is much to share between Turkish and Zimbabwean business communities," he said.

Tuskon representative in Zimbabwe Mr Yuksel Bayrak was confident Zimbabwean women attending the summit would emerge with viable business deals from their interactions with the Turkish women and their African counterparts.

Business between Africa and Turkey has grown from US$4 billion in 2005 to US$20 billion as of December 2013

Against this background, women were expected to take relations between the two business partners to another level.

Tuskon itself has a US$30 billion business portfolio under its ambit and has 55 000 members.

Yesterday its president Mr Rizanur Meral said there was great potential to increase business between Africa and Turkey.

"Africa is the future of the world. Many economists and politicians say that the history of Africa will be rewritten in the next 50 years. In this vein I believe women have special skills and high energy and they will contribute very strongly in the development of the continent," he said.

Source - Herald
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