AWIEF and USAID to Help Enhance SMEs in Southern Africa

Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum has partnered with USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub to help 100 SMEs in Southern Africa.

Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF)\ in partnership with USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (USAID TradeHub) is proud to launch a new program which will increase the investor, export readiness and competitiveness of 100 SMEs in Southern Africa.

The USAID funded ‘Enhanced Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Investment and Export Readiness Through a Digital Platform’ program is aimed at SMEs in Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia who are either already exporting or interested in exporting products to South Africa and/or to the United States.

The program aims to leverage the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a United States Trade Act that significantly enhances market access to the US for qualifying Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, and valid until 2025, to drive export trade for the SMEs.

The objectives of this new AWIEF program are to: (a) increase exports from the Southern African countries to South Africa; (b) increase exports from all the nine targeted Southern African countries to the US, leveraging AGOA; and (c) support firms seeking specific trade-related technology transfer (e.g. labelling, branding, laboratories).

The comprehensive 8-week program will help strengthen participants’ governance, regulatory compliance, and risk management capabilities and will be implemented as an online training course through the AWIEF digital platform – the AWIEF Community.

“We are very excited to have won this project funding from USAID and to be partnering with USAID TradeHub. SMEs are the power engines of Africa economies and represent the bulk of all businesses in Africa. This program is about supporting Southern African entrepreneurs to expand their businesses by accessing new markets and trading beyond their borders. It is also important for SMEs to leverage the huge opportunities offered by AGOA to enter into international trade with the US.”

Irene Ochem, Founder and CEO, AWIEF

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