The role of women is critical to the recovery and development of states as they battle their way out of the covid19 pandemic.
This was the view expressed by an international panel including Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, at the International Trade Centre’s (ICT) virtual Good Trade Summit on Wednesday.
The discussion was themed “Women and trade at the heart of the pandemic recovery” and highlighted current mechanisms used and identified new opportunities for progress.
Gopee-Scoon said TT’s Roadmap to Recovery Committee appointed by the Prime Minister to chart a post-covid19 recovery plan included detailed focus on the development of women and the most vulnerable.
“The focus is on three main pillars – transforming the economy, making food security a reality and leaving no one behind by making equity and equality central.
“Priority was given to reviewing the food support programme to ensure that no one in the country was without food. (Focus was also given to) providing funding to women and other vulnerable people who have become unemployed or lost their livelihood temporarily as a result of covid19 mitigation measures, providing incentives to businesses to develop initiatives that create sustainable employment for vulnerable groups, establishing support to the building and maintenance of existing families and homes for “at risk” youths and women, and working with society to foster and help women and their families to self-sustainability.”
Gopee-Scoon added, ExporTT and the ministry planned to launch a trade conference later this year to promote women, their businesses and provide networking.
She said, “The National She Trade Hub will be launched on October 28, with the ICTs aim to connect over three million women worldwide by 2021.
There is no doubt that our female entrepreneurs will benefit from the suite of training and networking opportunities.
Additionally, Gopee-Scoon noted that emphasis was being placed on the creative sector which, she noted, employed a significant number of females.
“We are also looking forward to developing our creative sector where many of our women are employed and we are focusing on film, fashion and music.
“Our focus will be on growing these industries and getting women into manufacturing and anywhere they are skilled. It is all about monetising.”
A digital economy, she added, was critical in these new times as it presented new opportunities in trade and other services for governments, businesses, corporations and individuals.
“Covid19 has been unwittingly seen as a catalyst for e-commerce activity for both businesses and consumers. Since the pandemic there has been an uptake in e-commerce activity, as it relates to the local private sector.
“More online services are being offered and those with an online presence have intensified their marketing and advertising. Smaller businesses have begun to intensify their activities via popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.”
She added, government plans to ensure businesses have the requisite tools and resources to adjust their business models to adapt.
To do this, Gopee-Scoon noted that all governments, especially small island developing states should move to ensure the ease of doing business and minimising bureaucracy.
“Governments must work towards removing all the bureaucratic bottlenecks that negatively impact competitiveness and productivity. We in TT will be embarking on certification for SMEs to ensure that they can move forward and compete in the international arena.”