Export & Digitalization: Kick-off in Rabat of the ECA – EU – EBRD Capacity Building Workshops for Women Led Enterprises
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Union representations in Morocco and the ECA Office for North Africa will hold on Friday 16 June in Rabat (Morocco) the first of a series of five training workshops for women-led businesses in various parts of Morocco.
These workshops are being organised as part of the EBRD-led “Women in Business” program financed by the EU and benefit from the support of multiple partners including the Moroccan Association of Women Entrepreneurs (AFEM) and the Association of Moroccan Exporters (ASMEX). They are also being organised as part of a series of actions undertaken by the ECA Office in North Africa aimed at the development of programs and policies in support to female entrepreneurship in North Africa and the implementation of an environment conducive to job creation for women and young people in North Africa.
The five workshops will focus on enhancing export capacity and building up the digital skills of about 200 women owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Besides supporting women in the Morocco labour market and their livelihoods, the project’s main objective is to strengthen Morocco’s trade with the African continent and support the country’s structural transformation.
Five workshops will be taking place as part of this project in Rabat (16-20 June), Marrakech (22-26 June), Agadir (4-7 July), Tangier (10-13 July) and Casablanca (17-20 July).
Each workshop will address four key themes, namely access to finance, product development, market development strategies and the digitalization of SME export activities. Participants will learn about financing options available to SMEs, how to identify export opportunities, where are the potential markets in Africa, what are the qualification of exportable products as well as the latest digital platforms and tools that may boost exports.
Women’s participation in the North African labour market is the lowest among African sub-regions and one of the lowest globally. In Morocco, where it is just over 21 percent among the working age female population, the formal employment rate of women has dropped significantly over the years, from 30 percent in 1999 to 18.6 percent in 2019 according to data from the Moroccan High Commission for Planning. ECA’s research on North Africa has shown that women-led SMEs generate more employment for both women and men than SMEs led by men. Supporting women-led firms is thus key for inclusive growth. Export-oriented SMEs are typically more productive and warrant special attention.
The workshops will thus support the contribution of SMEs to inclusive growth; strengthen the productive employment of women through programs dedicated to entrepreneurship and strengthen the export capacities of businesses owned and managed by women. They will also contribute to improving the digital skills of women owners and their firms.