S. Sudan women convened workshop on trade

By John Agok

The South Sudan Women Consultation workshop on trade yesterday kicked off in Juba under the auspices of African Union and UN Agencies in a bid to enlighten them into continental charter and trade protocol.

The one day workshop that brought together over 40 South Sudan Women in entrepreneurship was conducted under the theme; “lending a voice to the upcoming protocol on Women in Trade under the African Continental free Trade Area (AFCFTA) .

The goal is to fully integrated Women in Africa Charter, trade protocol, and the Unite Nation Development on Population (UNDP) and United Nation on Women whichwere the only agencies tasked to empower and capacitated the South Sudanese Women’s participation into the continental arena.

In the opening remarks, Madam Ayaa Benjamin the Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare (MGWS) underlined obstacles hindering women to participate in trade and regular small-scale business activities.

“Most of our women are affected by lack of access to finances especially due to commercials banks that require proven perquisite collaterals to loans cash”, she said.

Ayaa also admitted the lack of adequate skills on business in regards to poor management couple with cultural practices that hinder women participation in or venturing into businesses.

“In South Sudan, Women are discouraged by some cultural practices from venturing into business and lack of business skills too”, she added.

The Undersecretary in Ministry of trade Mr. Agak Acuil Lual slammed politicians on indulging onto luxurious lifestyle spending public money instead of investing or venturing into businesses.

“Our people blame foreigners of dominating the business in the Country than holding themselves accountable for extravagantly expanding bills on luxurious hotels using public money. They should have injected this money into businesses”, he said.

 Dr. Samuel Doe, the UNDP Representative, urged the government to lift up any barriers that hindered cross-border trade in order to meet protocol on continental trade.

“We are obliged to support women on all cross- border trade, but there is need for any government to ensure free trade and free movement of goods and services that will allow borders not to open to threats,” he stated.

Mr. Peterson Mogoola from UN Women decried both lack of access to finances and protection by women.

“We are supporting over 6,000 Women in South Sudan in small-scale businesses. The only challenge is the lack of women wealth protection and lack of access to finances”, he underscored.

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