Canadian High Commissioner, South Africa And AWIEF Partner For eCommerce Capacity Development Programme For Women Entrepreneurs


The High Commission of Canada in South Africa has partnered with the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) to run an eCommerce Capacity Development Programme for Women Entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), the activity will enhance market access for women entrepreneurs through building knowledge, capacity, and skills in digital channels.

Ecommerce is one of the most dynamically growing business sectors in Africa. Retailing online has provided SMEs and the informal sector solutions to keep running and reaching customers during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. A 2019 online retail study found that, in 2018, eCommerce totaled more than R14 billion or 1.4 per cent of total retail sales in South Africa.

“As Africa pursues an ambitious regional eTrade agenda through the US$3.2 trillion African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the increasing growth potentials and acceleration of eCommerce is coming into sharp focus.” said AWIEF founder and chief executive officer Irene Ochem. She noted that “women have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns, and women are more than ever at risk of being left behind in the adoption of digital technologies to rebuild businesses in a post-COVID world. This programme aims to increase women’s participation and success in online business, prepare them to capitalize on new opportunities enabled by the increasingly evolving digital economy, and expand their market access intra-Africa and globally.”

40 South African women entrepreneurs will be provided with technical learning, training and mentoring support on how to start, grow and scale eCommerce businesses.

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