APIA: WEDNESDAY 03 SEPTEMBER 2014: The International Trade Centre (ITC) today launched the ‘Economic Empowerment of Women in the Pacific’ project to boost the participation of Pacific women in business. The project, which was unveiled at the Third UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa, will in its first phase focus on three countries: Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu.
In the three countries, the aim is to build women’s capacity to capitalize on market opportunities in formal markets and increase the economic benefits for women in the Pacific region. Ensuring greater participation by Pacific women in trade will benefit their families and communities in the three countries.
Selected groups of producers have been invited to participate in the project, including women entrepreneurs who will benefit from training and advisory services.
In Samoa, the project’s objective is to increase the engagement of women in trade through access to government procurement contracts. In Papua New Guinea, the main objective of the project is to improve the livelihoods of women Bilum producers. In Vanuatu, the aim is to improve the livelihoods of women smallholders and their communities in Espiritu Santo.
ITC Executive Director Arancha González said: “Today’s launch underlines ITC’s commitment to the people of the Pacific. It is a continuation of assistance in the region, including working with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, on WTO accession and post-accession in Vanuatu and Samoa, and helping to enhance the productivity of Fiji’s agricultural sector.
“Through this project we aim to realize our vision of the best possible future for the peoples of the small island developing states that we seek to serve.”
ITC’s Women and Trade Programme is supported by the governments of Australia, the United Kingdom and Norway. The Government of Australia is providing AUD 3 million to ITC for the implementation of the Economic Empowerment of Women in the Pacific project. This is part of Australia’s AUD 320 million pledge to empower women in the Pacific region the 2012-2022 period.
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the Millennium Development Goals.