FORUMINTERNATIONAL TRADE - Women's economic empowerment Issue 1 - ITC

 
FORUMINTERNATIONAL TRADE - Women's economic empowerment Issue 1 - ITC
2018                ADVISING, EMPOWERING & INSPIRING TRADE

                        INTERNATIONAL TRADE

                   FORUM
Issue 1

Women’s economic
empowerment
FORUMINTERNATIONAL TRADE - Women's economic empowerment Issue 1 - ITC
FORUMINTERNATIONAL TRADE - Women's economic empowerment Issue 1 - ITC
MESSAGE FROM

Pressing for progress
with SheTrades
ARANCHA GONZÁLEZ, Executive Director, International Trade Centre

T     his is an incredible time for women’s
      empowerment. The movement to
      ensure equality for women and girls is
                                                         However, there is hope. Last year we
                                                   witnessed three moments that I believe will
                                                   prove a sea change to the rhetoric and policy-
influencing all facets of our daily lives. And     making for women in trade.
trade is no exception. Still, there is much left         The first was the inclusion of gender
to do if we are to attain Goal 5 – empower all     chapters in international trade agreements.
women and girls – of the United Nations 2030       This initiative, pioneered by Uruguay and
Agenda for Sustainable Development                 Chile at the end of 2016, was replicated by              What matters more, though, is what
     Trade does not have a gender: it does         Canada and Chile, which last year signed a         happens on the ground. Through SheTrades
have a gender impact and is not always gen-        free-trade agreement with a dedicated chapter      we are seeing the impact from more women
der neutral. This is why ITC launched the          on trade and gender.                               entering international trade.
SheTrades initiative: to empower women eco-              The second was the adoption by the G20             In Kenya, a partnership with Barclays
nomically through greater integration in trade     in Germany – on the proposal of the Women20        Bank has helped to provide $3 million worth
and investment, and to connect one million         – of a set of commitments to address the gen-      of capital to more than 200 women-owned
women to market by 2020. Through partner-          der digital, labour and financial gaps. The Ger-   enterprises. Meanwhile, eBay has provided free
ships, collaboration and shared commitments,       man G20 presidency can be proud. For the first     online shopfront access to dozens of selected
women entrepreneurs are enabled to produce,        time in G20 history, Women20 representatives       women-owned companies. (See Page 14.)
scale up and trade.                                attended the meetings of top government offi-            SheTrades is also about Phyllis, an online
     A significant proportion of micro, small      cials resulting in an exchange on how world        florist in Kenya who, with ITC support, created
and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)               leaders could increase women’s participation in    Tandao Commerce, an e-commerce platform
around the world are owned by women. In            the global economy.                                that is now revolutionizing online trading in
developing countries around 36% of MSMEs                 The third big moment of 2017 was the         Africa. And there is Charitha from Sri Lanka,
are partially or fully owned by women. While       Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Wom-         who set up a sustainable, luxury eco-tourism
this is encouraging, the share of women-           en’s Economic Empowerment, which was               resort and is now closing business deals with
owned companies participating in interna-          supported by more than 120 members and             international travel agencies. (See Page 28.)
tional trade stands at a more modest 20%.          observers of the World Trade Organization                These are just of few success stories
     An estimated one billion women are not        (WTO) during its Ministerial Conference in         among countless of successful women entre-
able to fully participate in the economy. This     Buenos Aires, Argentina. ITC is proud to have      preneurs making a change for themselves and
has to do with multiple reasons that can and       co-led this initiative with the Governments of     on society.
should be tackled, from lack of education or       Iceland and Sierra Leone under the auspices of           ITC is committed to women’s economic
training for women and girls, to financial and     the International Gender Champions.                empowerment. I invite you all to do the same.
legal constraints. As pointed out by the Inter-          Over the next two years, stakeholders        Big steps. Small steps. Be a champion. Be a
national Telecommunication Union, more             will exchange knowledge and share best prac-       mentor. Share your knowledge. Create oppor-
than 250 million fewer women than men              tices to help connect more women entrepre-         tunities. Be part of the movement.
have access to the online world (see Page 18).     neurs to international trade. It will enable the
This is alarming, especially since the economy     next WTO Ministerial Conference, in 2019,
of the 21st century will be very much techno-      to set a clearer direction on how to craft trade
logically and digitally driven.                    policies that benefit women – and men.

                                                                                                                       FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018 | 3
FORUMINTERNATIONAL TRADE - Women's economic empowerment Issue 1 - ITC
Contents
International Trade           Editor
Forum focuses on trade        Jarle Hetland
promotion and export
development as part of        Assistant Editor
ITC’s technical               Kate Baglaeva
Co-operation programme
with developing countries     Writers
and economies in              Anna Jankowska-Eriksson
transition.                   Anna Mori                         GLOBAL VIEW
                              Mohammed Saeed
Published quarterly since     Julia Spies
1964 in English, French       Victoria Tuomisto               NEWS BRIEF....................................................................................................6
and Spanish.                  Fiona Walker
                              Poonam Watine                   A NEW WORLD PARADIGM..........................................................................10
See the online version at     Matthew Wilson                  David Abney, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, UPS
tradeforum.org
                              Copy editor
Sign up for e-mail headline   Michael Kelley                  EURASIA, THE SUPERCONTINENT THAT WILL DEFINE
alerts at tradeforum.org/                                     OUR CENTURY..............................................................................................12
alerts                        Design, illustrations           Bruno Maçães, Author, ‘The Dawn of Eurasia’
                              and art direction
Subscriptions                 Kristina Golubic
forum@intracen.org            Iva Stastny Brosig              AGENDA........................................................................................................37

Print subscription            Printer
US$ 60/year (free to          ITC Digital Printing
trade support institutions
and firms in developing       Disclaimer
countries)                    Views expressed in Trade
                              Forum are the contributors’
ISSN: 0020-8957               and do not necessarily

                                                                                                                                                                        © Shutterstock.com
                              coincide with those of ITC,
Address                       UN or WTO. Designations
International                 employed do not imply the
Trade Centre                  expression of any opinion on
Palais des Nations            the part of ITC concerning
1211 Geneva 10                the legal status of any
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t +41 22 730 0111             or its boundaries; or the
f +41 22 733 4439             endorsement of any
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Reprints                      Publisher
Articles from this            The International Trade

                                                                                                                                              | 12
magazine may be               Centre is the joint agency of
freely reprinted, with        the World Trade Organization
attribution to the author     and the United Nations.
and to International Trade
Forum, ITC. A copy of         Cover photo:
the reproduced article        Kristina Golubic – from
would be appreciated.         Shutterstock.com elements
Copyrighted photos may
not be reproduced.

                                                                SPECIAL REPORT

                                                              CONNECTING WOMEN TO MARKETS THROUGH SHETRADES .......14
                                                              Anna Mori, Programme and Partnerships Officer, International Trade Centre

                                                              THE FEMINIST APPROACH TO INCLUSIVE TRADE AND
                                                              POLICYMAKING..........................................................................................16
                                                              Ann Linde, Minister for European Union Affairs and Trade, Sweden

                                                              CALLING TIME ON THE DIGITAL GENDER DIVIDE..............................18
                                                              Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief, Strategic Planning and Membership,
                                                              International Telecommunication Union

                                                              IN VANUATU, ‘MARKET MAMAS’ ARE TAKING CARE
                                                              OF BUSINESS................................................................................................20
                                                              Simon Hess, Coordinator, and Deanna Ramsay, Communications Officer,
ITC EMPLOYMENT                                                Enhanced Integrated Framework
ITC is recruiting qualified professionals within different    WOMEN ARE KEY TO ACHIEVING THE SUSTAINABLE
areas of expertise. If you would like to contribute your
skills to increasing export competitiveness for developing    DEVELOPMENT GOALS .............................................................................22
economies, and are motivated to work in an international      Cathrine G. Jahnsen, Executive Programme Manager, Virke
environment that promotes diversity, please check our
jobs website, which is updated weekly:
www.intracen.org/about/jobs

4 | FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018
FORUMINTERNATIONAL TRADE - Women's economic empowerment Issue 1 - ITC
PHOTO FEATURE
 © Matthew Wilson / ITC

                                                                                                                   |8
                                                                                                                         LOCAL WORK, GLOBAL IMPACT
                                                                                                                         How IKEA is helping Indian women export their
                                                                                                                         handicraft worldwide.

                                                                                                  INTERVIEW

                                                                                             THE ITC FELLOWSHIP EXPERIENCE: WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.........32
                                                                                             Fiona Walker, Human Resources Adviser, International Trade Centre

                                                                                                  ANALYSIS

                                                                                             UNBLOCKING CROSS-BORDER TRADE..................................................34
                                                                                             Victoria Tuomisto, Associate Expert, and Mohammed Saeed, Senior Trade
                                                                                             Facilitation Adviser, International Trade Centre

                                                                | 28                              PUBLICATIONS
   © ITC

                                                                                             RESOURCES ON TRADE AND EXPORT DEVELOPMENT......................38

         SPECIAL REPORT

MAKING AID FOR TRADE WORK FOR WOMEN.....................................24
Anoush Derboghossian, Gender Focal Point, World Trade Organization

HARNESSING EXPORT POTENTIAL TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN.................................................................26
Anna Jankowska-Eriksson, International Consultant and Julia Spies, Market Analyst,
International Trade Centre

WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS BREAKING BARRIERS................................28
                                                                                              © Shutterstock.com

Michelle Kristy, Associate Expert, , Poonam Watine and Caroline Kemunto,

                                                                                                                                                        | 34
International Consultant, International Trade Centre

THE FUTURE OF WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT.................30
Linda Calabrese, Research Fellow, Aarti Krishnan, Senior Research Officer and
Abigail Hunt, Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute

                                                                                                                                              FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018 | 5
FORUMINTERNATIONAL TRADE - Women's economic empowerment Issue 1 - ITC
NEWS

News Brief

Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade
For the first time in the history of the World Trade

                                                                                                                                                  © WTO
Organization (WTO), a number of members and
observers have endorsed a collective initiative to
increase the participation of women in trade. More
than 120 WTO members and observers agreed to
support the Buenos Aires Declaration on Women
and Trade, which seeks to foster, and remove bar-
riers to, women’s economic empowerment.
     Signatories have voluntarily undertaken
to enhance their cooperation on issues related
to gender-responsive trade and development
policies with a view to agree on further
commitments at the 12th WTO Ministerial
Conference in 2019.

                                                                            ITC to boost digital skills of Jordanian
                                                                            youth, Syrian refugees
                                                                            Through linking Jordanian youth and Syrian refugees in Jordan to
                                                                            market opportunities, the International Trade Centre (ITC) will
                                                                            help potential entrepreneurs learn how to offer services online
                                                                            and how to reach new markets. Funded by Japan’s Ministry of
 © Shutterstock.com

                                                                            Foreign Affairs, the project will help strengthen technical skills
                                                                            such as data entry basic computer programming; digital content
                                                                            creation; document translation; integrated digital publishing;
                                                                            and sales and marketing.

ITC, UNCTAD, WTO launch Global Trade Helpdesk
                                                                                                                                          © Shutterstock.com

ITC, UNCTAD and the WTO unveiled an               the Helpdesk, which is still in a beta ver-
                                                                                                                                                     © ITC

innovative tool to help businesses, in particu-   sion, provides data on applicable tariffs
lar smaller firms, benefit from trade. Accessi-   and taxes; relevant health and safety stand-
ble through a new online hub – HelpMeTrade.       ards and compliance procedures; details
org – the Global Trade Helpdesk will serve        about export and import procedures such
as a one-stop shop for businesses and poli-       as pre-shipment formalities; and current
cymakers to turn trade data into intelligence.    trade patterns and trade agreements. Data
     Launched at the WTO’s 11th Ministe-          will be added to the Helpdesk over a three-
rial Conference in Buenos Aires, the Global       year period, and complemented with busi-
Trade Helpdesk is a multiagency response          ness information such as buyer and seller
to an information gap in trade. For compa-        contacts as well as trade fair dates and
nies looking at potential export markets,         locations.

6 | FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018
FORUMINTERNATIONAL TRADE - Women's economic empowerment Issue 1 - ITC
ITC, Dubai Exports join

                                                                                                                                            © Dubai Exports
forces to set up SheTrades
Middle East Hub
The first regional hub for ITC’s SheTrades
initiative, created to connect women entre-
preneurs to markets and support greater
economic empowerment of women, was
launched in Dubai in February 2018. The
global SheTrades initiative spearheaded
by ITC aims at connecting one million
women to markets by 2020, the Middle
East hub seeks to rally support from poli-
cymakers, business community and wom-
en’s organizations to increase women’s
participation in trade.

                                                ILO and IFC launch strategy to enhance gender equality
© Shutterstock.com

                                                in garment industry
                                                Better Work, a joint initiative of the                  Although women represent around
                                                International Labour Organization (ILO)            80% of the workforce in the garment sec-
                                                and the International Finance Corporation,         tor worldwide, they are concentrated in the
                                                launched a comprehensive, five-year gender         lowest-paying, lowest-skilled occupations.
                                                strategy to empower women, reduce sexual           Gender-based discrimination during recruit-
                                                harassment and close the gender pay gap in         ment processes and sexual harassment in
                                                the global garment industry.                       the workplace remain widespread. Social
                                                     The new strategy aims to promote              norms and the predominance of working
                                                women’s economic empowerment through               mothers also contribute to a sizeable gender
                                                targeted initiatives in apparel factories, and     pay gap, with female factory workers earn-
                                                by strengthening policies and practices at         ing up to 21% less per hour than their male
                                                the national, regional and international levels.   counterparts.

WTO, ITC launch

                                                                                                                                            © Shutterstock.com
Cotton Portal to enhance
transparency, support
development
The WTO and ITC launched an online plat-
form for market intelligence for cotton prod-
ucts, enabling cotton producers, traders
and policymakers to better harness market
opportunities in the sector. Launched at the
WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference in Bue-
nos Aires, the portal is expected to contrib-
ute to a more efficient cotton trading system
by providing improved transparency and
accessibility of trade-related information,
providing relevant information for produc-
ers, traders and policymakers.

                                                                                                                   FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018 | 7
FORUMINTERNATIONAL TRADE - Women's economic empowerment Issue 1 - ITC
PHOTO SPECIAL

Local expertise creates global footprint
MATTHEW WILSON, Chief of Staff, International Trade Centre

                                                                                                                                          © Matthew Wilson / ITC

Women in India see their handiwork go international via IKEA

I  n February 2018 International Trade
   Centre Executive Director Arancha
   González and her team entered a small
                                                 Industree Foundation, will find them-
                                                 selves in IKEA stores and living spaces
                                                 around the world.
                                                                                                     Many of the women were taking home
                                                                                                an income for the first time in their lives.
                                                                                                Many were gaining new expertise or trans-
building in a little village in Mandya, India,        The set-up provides a micro-ecosystem     lating their knowledge into marketable skills.
to see entrepreneurship at work.                 of empowerment, skills upgrading and mar-      All of them were increasing their confidence,
     Twenty women – some with their              ket connection. For ITC, it provided lessons   and their contributions to their family in-
young children – were seated in a long           learned that can be shared with ongoing        come while also finding dignity in work.
room full of looms used to weave fab-            and future projects, such as our work with          These photographs offer a brief glimpse
rics for homeware, and using traditional         women in Ethiopia under ITC’s Support-         into the beautiful and unique work of these
techniques to create beautiful designs.          ing Indian Trade and Investment for Africa     women, showing how local expertise can
Their products, through the support of           (SITA) project.                                create a global footprint.

8 | FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018
FORUMINTERNATIONAL TRADE - Women's economic empowerment Issue 1 - ITC
FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018 | 9
FORUMINTERNATIONAL TRADE - Women's economic empowerment Issue 1 - ITC
GLOBAL VIEW

A new world paradigm
DAVID ABNEY, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, UPS

                                                                                                                                        © Shutterstock.com

Global trade needs a reboot to expand the global economy

I
   n recent years free trade has come under        to associated declines in poverty, child and
   criticism from populists who blame it for       slave labor and even military conflicts. One   For trade to drive global growth –
   every lost factory job. In reality trade has    study of 40 economies also found that trade    and for that growth to be shared more
been responsible for fewer job losses than auto-   increased the purchasing power of lower-       widely – governments, businesses,
mation, a technological force much harder to       income households by about two-thirds as       non-governmental organizations and
reverse. So while trade has made for a popular     they spend more on basic goods that are        others must make a concerted effort
                                                                                                  to work together.
scapegoat, the truth is cross-border commerce      often imported, like food and clothing.
has played an underappreciated role in pro-             That is evidence to the contrary, and
ducing the inclusive global prosperity we have     the criticisms are not likely to go away.      substantial on a macroeconomic level,
enjoyed over the past 60 years.                    If advocates of free trade were honest, they   while the short-term losses have been felt
     Economic study after economic study           would admit that the global trading system     on a more personal level.
has proven trade played a major role over the      has not kept up with the changes in global         To win over the critics, global trade
past half-century in boosting employment,          commerce. They would also acknowledge          needs a major refresh. Here are four areas
incomes and average life spans. It has led         that the long-term benefits have been          where we can start.

10 | FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018
MAKING TRADE INCLUSIVE
 © Shutterstock.com

                                                                                                   If there is any valid criticism of the existing
                                                                                                   trading system, it is that trade creates win-
                                                                                                   ners and losers in the short term. So even
                                                                                                   if trade has been overwhelmingly positive
                                                                                                   over the long run, we need to give more
                                                                                                   consideration to the workers displaced
                                                                                                   by trade or technology efficiencies – and
                                                                                                   to the small businesses that could trade
                                                                                                   more. A trading system is sustainable only
                                                                                                   if everyone shares in the benefits. There-
                                                                                                   fore we must ensure that trade is more
                                                                                                   inclusive and helps support sustainable
                                                                                                   development.
                                                                                                         Governments also must create better
                                                                                                   safety nets for workers who lose their jobs
                                                                                                   to trade flows or technology. What that
                                                                                                   assistance looks like will vary by country,
                                                                                                   given the cultural differences that exist
                                                MODERNIZE TRADE LAWS                               around the world. In some countries
If implemented wisely, the TFA                  Whether regional, global or bilateral, many        this assistance can subsidize the cost of
could cut trading costs by up to 15%,           of today’s trade agreements were written           retraining workers through classes or
facilitating a $1 trillion expansion            in an era when manufacturing drove the             on-the-job apprenticeships. In others it can
in global trade. This will require
                                                global economy. Today the service industry         include wage and health insurance, even
policymakers everywhere to act in
                                                is a much bigger force and services such as        special assistance to affected businesses
good faith as they enact customs
reforms.                                        information technology, logistics, architec-       and farmers. While countries should tailor
                                                ture, law and accounting now trade easily          their approaches to their social policies,
                                                across borders.                                    the WTO and the business community can
                                                     What’s more, many forms of commerce           help promote best practices.
REFORM THE WTO                                  – including retail – are now digital. Cross-             Over the past decade regional or even
Since its inception in 1995 the World Trade     border e-commerce is expected to hit nearly        bilateral trade agreements have become
Organization (WTO) has faced its share of       $1 trillion by 2020 but trade regulations          more popular, a reflection of the difficul-
criticisms, including concerns that pro-        have not kept pace. Only 20% of regional           ties in finding consensus among the WTO’s
cessing cases takes too long and too many       trade agreements address such e-commerce           164 member nations. However, for trade to
countries ignore the notification rules. It     issues as transparency, data protection and        drive global growth – and for that growth
is easy to forget that before its founding      paperless trading and it is imperative that        to be shared more widely – governments,
the world trading system was perceived          trade laws catch up to the times.                  businesses, non-governmental organiza-
as a club controlled by the world’s biggest                                                        tions and others must make a concerted
economies, one that resisted any change to      STREAMLINE CUSTOMS                                 effort to work together.
the status quo. The creation of the WTO         While tariffs get the most attention, what               Those of us who advocate for trade
accelerated the liberalization of trade and     really inflates the cost of trading are non-tar-   understand the economic benefits of
gave countries both large and small a dis-      iff measures such as needless customs ineffi-      allowing goods and services to flow freely
pute settlement system guided by the rule       ciencies and the quotas, licensing and local-      across borders. A 21st-century trading
of law, not power. As a result, more coun-      content laws designed to protect domestic          system will also enable governments to
tries have been willing to bring their griev-   producers. The WTO Trade Facilitation              improve environmental standards and
ances to the WTO.                               Agreement (TFA) ratified in early 2017             labour standards. Before we can make
      Though the WTO is not perfect,            could help cut the red tape and bureaucracy        the case for global trade, we must make
the global trading system needs a strong        that needlessly increase the cost of trading.      a convincing argument that a 21st century
governing body at its core. The WTO’s rule-          If implemented wisely, the TFA could          trading world calls for a 21st-century policy
based system provides the predictability and    cut trading costs by up to 15%, facilitating       environment in which free trade benefits
accountability that businesses need before      a $1 trillion expansion in global trade. This      everyone.
they invest. Given that, the WTO should         will require policymakers everywhere to act
be reformed, not replaced. The first steps      in good faith as they enact customs reforms.
would be for it to reform the transparency      That will require free-trade proponents to
                                                                                                   1. Cross-border trade has played a huge role in producing
and notification system and speed up the        push governments around the world to do               inclusive global prosperity.
dispute settlement process.                     the right thing.                                   2. The WTO should be reformed, not replaced.

                                                                                                                       FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018 | 11
GLOBAL VIEW

Eurasia, the supercontinent that
will define our century
BRUNO MAÇÃES, Author, ‘The Dawn of Eurasia’

                                                                                                                                       © Shutterstock.com
The new century promises a world balanced between Western and
Asian poles

T     he end of the Cold War was supposed
      to inaugurate Europe’s age of recon-
      ciliations, when the continent, finally
                                                was first developed by Western multina-
                                                tionals and financial institutions.
                                                     In recent years Chinese authorities have
                                                                                                We are forced to live with cultural
                                                                                                contradiction without immediately
at peace with itself, would be able to exist    increasingly taken on this task and with the    explaining it away as a result of
as a unified whole. However, reconciliation     Belt and Road Initiative, a development         societies existing at different stages
worked perhaps too well: the disappear-         project of unmatched ambition, they intend      of historical development.
ance of the Iron Curtain also meant that        to be firmly in control. Spanning some
Europe struggled to differentiate itself from   70 countries and requiring investment           started to emerge: Eurasia, the supercon-
the lands to the east. By expanding it might    approaching $4 trillion, the initiative is      tinent extending from Lisbon to Shanghai
expand without limits; by retreating it might   deliberately intended to reshape the global     or even Jakarta. While one could argue
become an importer of instability.              political and economic order. China’s trade     that this is a return to an older time, the
     The decade that brought down the           with countries along the Belt and Road rose     dawn of a new age would be a more exact
Berlin Wall was also responsible for opening    17.8% year-on-year in January 2018.             description. Romantic images of the Silk
China to global capitalism. Deep value                                                          Road or Marco Polo’s adventures can-
chains were quickly established, together       NEW TRADE LINKS                                 not hide the fact that trade along those
with the infrastructure – both physical and     With the disappearance of old ideological       routes was insignificant and almost no one
digital – necessary to make them work. It is    battle lines and the establishment of new       made the whole journey from sea to sea.
frequently forgotten that this infrastructure   trade links, a new geographic entity has        As for Genghis Khan’s empire, practically

12 | FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018
© Shutterstock.com

                                                                                  China-Mongolia-Russia
                                                                                   Economic Corridor

                                                                                     New
                                                                                         Eura
                                                                                       Econ sia Land
                                                                                           omic      B
                                                                                                Corr ridge
                             China-Central Asia-                                                    idor
                                 West Asia
                             Economic Corridor

                                                                                  Bangladesh-China-
                                                                                   India-Myanmar
                                                                                  Economic Corridor

                                                                             or
                                                                      Co tan
                                                                        rrid
                                                                          s
                                                                 om -Paki
                                                                   ic
                                                            Ec hina
                                                                                                                     China-Indochina

                                                              on
                                                               C
                                                                                                                        Peninsula
                                                                                                                    Economic Corridor

limitless as it was to become, it still obeyed     new centre but a world balanced between
the iron laws of empire and was organized          Western and Asian poles. Contrary to the               Spanning some 70 countries and
around a power centre. A genuine meeting           Cold War, these two poles will be deeply               requiring investment approaching
between East and West is a creation of our         integrated.                                            $4 trillion, the [Belt and Road]
own time.                                               Eurasia is a word perfectly suited to             initiative is deliberately intended
     One immediate consequence of the              capture the main elements of this world,               to reshape the global political and
                                                                                                          economic order.
new political geography is how Russia              the first of which is contradiction. The new
will define its position in the world.             Eurasian century is not one where different
Traditionally, Russian elites see their task       regions of the world converge towards a                     Because Europe has taken the Western
as that of bringing about a gradual but            single model. If the end of the Cold War               political model to its logical conclusion,
complete integration with a more advanced          allowed many in the West to entertain those            while China remains unique in its closure
Europe. That vision is now being replaced          dreams, they are conclusively over. All public         and resistance to Western influence, it is
with a new self-image as the centre and            and private statements coming from China               tempting to think of these two regions
core of the Eurasian supercontinent. In this       speak of a country confident in its ability            as setting the outer limits for Eurasian
position, Russia can reach in all directions       to master modern technology and build a                politics. Between them, major powers such
and provide a bridge between Europe and            modern society without in any way adopting             as Russia and India will try to find different
China on both ends. Asia, long associated          a Western economic and political model.                positions within the broad spectrum of
with historical backwardness in Russian            For the first time in many centuries, we are           alternatives. Finally, across the oceans,
minds, is emerging as a pole of attraction.        forced to live with cultural contradiction             benefitting from a more distant perspective,
                                                   without immediately explaining it away as a            the United States may be expected to pick
INTEGRATED POLES                                   result of societies existing at different stages       and choose from different models as it
This takes us to the second and deeper             of historical development.                             strives to preserve its leadership position,
meaning of Eurasia, as a historical age rather          The second element is that of                     even if the world it wants to lead is now a
than a geographic unit. A lot has been writ-       integration. For all their differences, the            Eurasian rather than Western one.
ten about a new Asian century and with             main political and economic blocs are
                                                                                                          Bruno Maçães’ book, ‘The Dawn of Eurasia,’
four of the world’s five largest economies         increasingly integrated. Modern society
                                                                                                          was published in January. This article was first
soon to be located on the continent, the idea      by its very nature pushes towards larger               published on the World Economic Forum’s
has some appeal. What that premise ignores         spheres of action and technology breaks                Agenda blog.
is that Europe and the United States of            old barriers of geographic distance. By
America will keep their power and wealth           combining contradiction and integration, we
largely intact and that, in some crucial           are entering the second age of globalization,
dimensions, Asian economies and societies          where borders tend to dissolve but cultural            1. A train service for the Eurasian century.
still lag significantly behind. What the new       and civilizational differences do not. I call it       2. Six economic corridors of the Road and Belt initiative
century promises is not the emergence of a         the Eurasian age.                                         spanning Asia, Europe and Africa.

                                                                                                                               FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018 | 13
SPECIAL REPORT

Connecting women to markets
through SheTrades
ANNA MORI, Programme and Partnerships Officer, International Trade Centre

ITC’s flagship initiative for women entrepreneurs marks its two-year
anniversary

                                                                                                                                         © ITC

T      he SheTrades initiative, which aims
       to connect one million women
       entrepreneurs to the market by
                                                 approach of merely improving the quality
                                                 of women’s products and services. Instead
                                                 it sets out to engage all actors involved in
                                                                                                 Partnerships are crucial to increasing
                                                                                                 the reach, quality and sustainability of
2020, was launched just over two years           women’s economic empowerment includ-            the SheTrades initiative.
ago. It is the International Trade Centre’s      ing governments, the private sector and civil
(ITC) main vehicle to support Goal 5 of          society. All have critical roles to play.       the Pacific, women handicraft producers are
the United Nations 2030 Agenda for                                                               trained to improve their produce and linked
Sustainable Development, to empower all          THINKING GLOBALLY                               to high-end fashion designers. Across the
women and girls.                                 Today the SheTrades initiative works directly   coffee sector in eastern and central Africa,
     The SheTrades initiative evolved from       with 15,000 women entrepreneurs through         ITC works with several associations to help
ITC’s Women and Trade programme, which           a plethora of ITC projects and programmes.      women farmers and producers meet inter-
since 2016 has focused on creating oppor-        In Kenya, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, women        national quality standards.
tunities for women in trade. It aims to fos-     in the services sectors are connected to             Partnerships are crucial to increasing
ter change by going beyond the traditional       regional and global market opportunities. In    the reach, quality and sustainability of the

14 | FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018
Despite initial growing pains, the

                                                                                                                                                          © ITC
Many of the entrepreneurs ITC is                 SheTrades initiative is now delivering results
working with are found in the digital            and impacts for women entrepreneurs.
sector or are using technology to                      Take for example Chiedza Makonnen.
scale up their enterprises.                      She is the founder of Afrodesiac Worldwide,
                                                 a Ghanaian fashion brand and a SheTrades
SheTrades initiative. So far, teaming up         entrepreneur. Following participation in
with different partners has ensured support      training provided by several SheTrades part-
for some 200,000 women entrepreneurs.            ners, was exposed to international platforms
For example, in Kenya ITC has teamed up          and has since conquered the European mar-
with Barclays Bank to provide finance to         ket with her contemporary Afro-Urban style
women entrepreneurs and ensure access to         clothing line.
markets. So far the bank has already made              Makonnen’s business philosophy is also
available more than over $3 million worth        aligned to the thinking behind the SheTrades
of loans to 120 SheTrades entrepreneurs.         initiative. For her, it is imperative to contrib-
     Meanwhile, working with eBay, the           ute to the manufacturing industry in Ghana.         ON THE RIGHT TRACK
global online retailer, more than 100 selected   A fully 80% of the fabrics used in her pro-         To date, the SheTrades initiative has success-
women entrepreneurs are receiving support        duction are produced in Africa and 99.9% of         fully generated $80 million in export value
to expand their businesses and improve           those suppliers are women artisans working          opportunities for women entrepreneurs.
their digital commerce capabilities. Support     in impoverished areas. Growing her business         And so far the initiative has been launched in
provided by eBay to the SheTrades include        means that she contributes to improving live-       10 countries across Africa, Asia, the Pacific
in-depth training on market skills, mentoring    lihoods in her local community as well.             and South America. February also saw the
on digital commerce and a full-fledged eBay            Makonnen started her business with a          launch of the first regional SheTrades Hub.
shopfront for a period of one year for half of   few female employees at the micro-produc-           This took place in the United Arab Emirates
the 100 selected companies).                     tion level. As a SheTrades beneficiary, she         in partnership with Dubai Exports and will
                                                 was able to receive support, which enabled          provide support to women entrepreneurs
WOMEN IN TRADE DECLARATION                       her to scale up her production and employ           across the Middle East and North Africa.
Partnerships with governments matter, too.       more people. More importantly, Makonnen                   Such national or regional chapters, run
Together with Sierra Leone and Iceland,          is now helping ITC scale up its SheTrades           in partnership with governments and the pri-
ITC has been leading the Trade Impact            activities in Ghana, ensuring that more             vate-sector entities, allows for the SheTrades
Working Group of World Trade Organization        women entrepreneurs can follow the trail            initiative to be adapted to the local context,
member states to develop the Buenos Aires        that she has blazed by tapping into her busi-       further ensure that more women are con-
Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic        ness networks and being enabled to access           nected to opportunities in trade.
Empowerment. This commits signatories to         credible financial institutions.                          So far more than 120 corporations and
include an increase their focus on gender in                                                         institutions have committed themselves to
trade policy and galvanizes stakeholders to      TECHNOLOGY FOR EQUALITY                             participate in the effort to connect one mil-
take action to boost economic growth world-      Technology is often touted as way to include        lion women to markets by 2020.
wide. This again can help create more and        more women in true. Indeed, many of the                   While great strides have been made
better-paid jobs for women.                      entrepreneurs ITC is working with are found         towards reaching the 1-million target, more
     By the time the Declaration was pre-        in the digital sector or are using technology       partners will be needed to fully achieve this.
sented to the WTO at its Ministerial Con-        to scale up their enterprises. For ITC, too,        The SheTrades initiative will continue to
ference in December 2017, more than 120          digital technology has proved invaluable to         allocate a part of its resources to embrac-
World Trade Organization (WTO) members           roll out the SheTrades initiative, ensuring         ing challenges and promising high-impact
and observers had signed the declaration.        high impact with low costs.                         solutions, basing its interventions on what
                                                      It makes it easier to work with part-          is the core of the initiative’s work: engage-
GROWING PAINS                                    ners, establish networks of women entre-            ment with and between the public and
However, building and ensuring the suc-          preneurs, and disseminate knowledge, tools          private sectors to ensure for women entre-
cess of the SheTrades initiative has not         and frameworks related to the SheTrades             preneurs.
been straightforward.For ITC, the growth         objectives. Women entrepreneurs have
                                                                                                     To learn more and join the SheTrades initiative, visit
of the initiative required some soul-search-     quick access to eLearning courses, business
                                                                                                     SheTrades.com.
ing: is the organization equipped to create      and investment opportunities and tailored
an ecosystem of solutions that empower           capacity-building activities.
women economically? Does it have the                  And through the SheTrades web and              1. Some of the thousands of women entrepreneurs
knowledge and resources required to lead         mobile app, buyers that previously found it            benefiting from the SheTrades initiative.
on issues concerning the intersection of         hard to identify eligible women suppliers are       2. A women entrepreneur discusses with a potential buyer
gender and trade?                                now making new business connections.                   at the 2017 SheTrades Global conference.

                                                                                                                        FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018 | 15
SPECIAL REPORT

The feminist approach to inclusive
trade and policymaking
ANN LINDE, Minister for European Union Affairs and Trade, Sweden

Sweden has proven that equal opportunities for women and men is
good for job creation and good for economic growth

                                                                                                                                        © Shutterstock.com

W        hen the current Swedish govern-
         ment came into power in 2014,
         the first thing it did was to state it
                                                  cooperation, security, promotion, public
                                                  diplomacy and, of course, trade.
                                                       For the government, a feminist foreign
                                                                                                   Economic data tells us that countries
                                                                                                   in which more women participate
is a feminist government. As such it made         policy is aimed at achieving gender equal-       in the labour market enjoy greater
a clear commitment to promoting gender            ity by eliminating all forms of discrimination   economic growth than countries that
                                                                                                   restrict the possibilities of women to
equality in all policymaking.                     against women and girls and improving gen-
                                                                                                   work on equal terms as men.
     During the past years the government         eral conditions for women and girls. It is a
has combatted inhibitive gender roles and         question of human rights, but also of equal
structures and we have let gender equality        opportunities allowing men and women to          and people flow across countries faster
have a formative impact on policy choices,        use their potential and contribute to society.   than ever before, information and knowl-
priorities, and in allocation of resources.       But it is also a question of smart economics.    edge have become global commodities.
The Swedish government pursues this                                                                Economic globalization and trade can
agenda in all facets of its work – in Swe-        ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION                          channel and reinforce universal values of
den, in the European Union and globally.          The world has witnessed an enormous              democracy, equality and human rights as
Gender equality will permeate all areas           economic transformation over the past            ideas and skills move from one country to
of Sweden’s foreign policy: development           three decades. As goods, services, capital,      another.

16 | FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018
© ITC

                                                                                                        Only a third of the world’s nations
                                                                                                        gather data that makes it possible to
                                                                                                        measure and understand women’s
                                                                                                        and girls’ economic situation.
                                                                                                        Hundreds of millions of women and
                                                                                                        girls are still invisible.

                                                                                                              Therefore, Sweden supports various
                                                                                                        efforts in this area, as for example UNCTAD’s
                                                                                                        tool box on trade and gender, which I launched
                                                                                                        together with Secretary-General Mukhisa
                                                                                                        Kituyi last year. The tool box is meant to assess
                                                                                                        to what extent trade policies affect men and
                                                                                                        women in a distinctive manner.
      Women’s participation in the economy,               Generally, trade liberalization has                 Sweden also supports the important
as entrepreneurs, employees, leaders, produc-        helped to create more jobs and stronger            work of the International Trade Centre
ers and consumers is a measure of a coun-            connection to markets for both men and             (ITC), an organization with long experience
try’s economic viability and progress. Access        women. But, although trade rules are gen-          in the field of trade and gender that has been
to resources and economic opportunities for          erally intended to be gender-neutral, inter-       able to collect valuable information and data,
women and girl – and the knowledge to make           national trade and trade liberalization can        in addition to analysis in the field.
use of these – enables strategic choices that can    effect men and women differently.                        The OECD is an organization with a
lead to positive change. Gender-based inequali-                                                         clear strength in cross-sectoral analysis. A
ties impose significant development costs on         GENDER-AGGREGATED DATA                             welcome addition to what other organiza-
societies: they reduce the growth potential, the     To ensure women’s equal access to global trade     tions are doing is therefore the growing inter-
productivity and the performance of the econ-        markets, this dimension needs to be integrated     est in the OECD to deepen its analysis also on
omy as a whole. Economic data tells us that          into discussions on international trade and        trade and gender. The World Bank Develop-
countries in which more women participate            trade policy, whether they take place at the       ment Report from 2012 on gender equality
in the labour market enjoy greater economic          World Trade Organization, the United Nations       and development was ground-breaking and
growth than countries that restrict the possibili-   Conference on Trade and Development (UNC-          we are looking forward to more analysis that
ties of women to work on equal terms as men.         TAD) or the Organisation for Economic Coop-        will contribute to deepened understanding in
      In the case of Sweden, women’s eco-            eration and Development (OECD).                    the trade and gender nexus.
nomic empowerment and participation in                     A challenge is the slow progress regard-           In April, Minister for Foreign Affairs
the labour force were made possible mainly           ing gender analysis, which is as complex as        Margot Wallström, Minster for International
through three reforms: the abolition of the          it is crucial. Getting an accurate picture will    Development Cooperation Isabella Lövin and
joint taxation system, the expansion of              enable us to design policies and measures in       myself will host the Stockholm Forum on
publicly-funded affordable child and elderly         a way that favours women’s empowerment             Gender Equality. This will cover critical issues
care, and the reform of the parental insur-          and well-being, and at the same time avoids        and seek common solutions around human
ance that allows mothers and fathers to take         increasing gender inequality and mitigating        rights, representation and access to resources
parental leave on equal terms.                       existing disparities.                              for women and girls. Participants from civil
                                                           Unfortunately, the UN estimates that         society, private sector, governments and aca-
TRADE AND GENDER EQUALITY                            there are currently only available and reli-       demia will gather to exchange experiences,
As trade minister I wish to see that trade           able data to follow up a mere one-third of         methods and strengthen dialogue. It will also
contributes to growth and jobs. It would be          the global targets.                                be an opportunity to experience the feminist
provocative to say that I want this to hap-                Add gender-specific data and the situa-      perspective in Swedish foreign policy during
pen just for men. But in practice this could         tion is even worse. Only a third of the world’s    recent years.
be the case. The problem is that we do not           nations gather data that makes it possible to      For more information on the Stockholm Forum on
always know whether the actions or policies          measure and understand women’s and girls’          Gender Equality, please visit genderqualworld.com.
we discuss or decide upon are as beneficial          economic situation. Hundreds of millions of
for women as they are for men.                       women and girls are still invisible.
     Because the link between trade and gen-
der is complex and to a large extent depend          PARTNERSHIPS
on national circumstances. The effects can go        Governments and relevant international             1. Sweden has benefited economically from high women
both ways. Trade and trade liberalization can        organizations need to give priority to further        participation in the workforce.
affect equality, but the equality situation in a     analysis and collecting statistical data that is   2. SheTrades champions: Sweden’s Trade Minister Ann
country may also affect its ability to trade.        gender-differentiated.                                Linde and ITC Executive Director Arancha González.

                                                                                                                           FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018 | 17
SPECIAL REPORT

Calling time on the digital gender divide
DOREEN BOGDAN-MARTIN, Chief, Strategic Planning and Membership, International Telecommunication Union

Empowering women in the tech sector creates ideas, role models

                                                                                                                                           © ITU

W        e live in a world in which the near-
         ubiquity of information and commu-
         nication technology (ICT) and rapid
                                                 What’s more, instead of liberating women
                                                 by opening up a new world of previously
                                                 unavailable possibilities, it is all too often
                                                                                                    More than 25 years since the invention
                                                                                                    of the World Wide Web, we face a
advances in areas like robotics and artificial   perpetuating and even reinforcing tradi-           gender digital divide that is actually
intelligence are shaping the evolution of just   tional gender stereotypes.                         getting wider in the very parts of the
about every other economic sector.                    More than 25 years since the invention        world where access to technology
                                                                                                    could make the most difference.
     The technology sector is brimming           of the World Wide Web, we face a gender
with almost limitless opportunities. But         digital divide that is actually getting wider in
regrettably for such a new industry it has       the very parts of the world where access to        least developed countries (LDCs) that gap
inherited some pretty old problems. In Sili-     technology could make the most difference.         balloons to 30% or more. Aggregated across
con Valley today women hold fewer than                In Africa, the proportion of women            countries, that adds up to some 250 million
one in five tech jobs and fewer than one in      using the internet is 25% lower than that of       fewer women globally with access to the
10 senior positions at the leadership level.     men. In the 47 United Nations-designated           online world.

18 | FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018
© ITU

                                                                                                                                                                 © ITU
Inclusion can only be effective and
meaningful when there is awareness
of the benefits of connectivity, the
skills and confidence to exploit it
and affordable, attractive content that
meets women’s needs.

SCIENCE GAP
The gender digital divide extends even fur-
ther. Since the 1980s, when computer sci-
ence courses first appeared on university
curricula, the number of young women
choosing to study ICT degrees has been in
steady freefall.
      Today, fewer than one in five com-
puter science graduates in Organisation of
Economic Co-operation and Development             EQUALS                                                a data-gathering and analysis effort which
(OECD) countries is female. Fewer than            Together with founding partners UN                    seeks to fill the many data gaps that currently
one in six app developers is a woman or girl.     Women, the GSM Association (the mobile                impede effective evidence-based policy-mak-
Only 17% of all ICT jobs are held by women        industry body), the International Trade               ing in the area of technology and gender.
and women who choose to join the ICT sec-         Centre (ITC) and the United Nations                         Clearly, the primary aim of EQUALS
tor are leaving it in droves, with fewer than     University, we launched EQUALS, a collabo-            targets SDG 5 – ‘Achieve gender equality
1% of female ICT graduates still working in       rative global multi-stakeholder initiative that       and empower all women and girls’ – but the
the sector after five years.                      brings together nearly 60 partners from pri-          EQUALS founding partners believe it goes
      Research indicates that the problem         vate companies, government departments,               much deeper than that. Just as technology
spreads its roots at an early age: despite per-   regulatory agencies, non-governmental                 has become crucial to the achievement of
forming at least as well as boys in mathe-        organizations (NGOs) and academia.                    all 17 SDGs, so gender equality and gender
matics and science, by age 15 far fewer girls           EQUALS is dedicated to promoting gen-           empowerment are fundamental to creating
(4.7%) than boys (18%) say they are plan-         der balance in the technology sector by cham-         the world we want. To paraphrase a popu-
ning a career in computing or engineering.        pioning equality of access, skills development        lar slogan, none of us can be equal until all
At the other end of the skills spectrum, uni-     and career opportunities for women and men            of us are equal. That is why we are striving
versity employment figures show that only         alike. With grassroots collaboration at its heart,    towards with EQUALS and we are delighted
slightly more than 20% of tenured staff in        it’s about leveraging the power of partnership;       to be working alongside such a dynamic
computing and information-science depart-         amplifying results through collective strategies      partner as ITC to achieve 50:50 gender par-
ments are women. Within the tech sector           and programmes; coordinated policymaking;             ity by 2030.
itself, many women complain of a toxic,           and shared successes that can be adapted and                We all lose without women’s partici-
testosterone-centric culture that underval-       replicated in new contexts.                           pation in digital technology development
ues women’s contribution and limits their               By promoting awareness, building                and access to digital technology resources.
ability to get ahead.                             political commitment, pooling resources,              Inclusion can only be effective and meaning-
      Predictably, perhaps, the result is a       exchanging knowledge and harnessing the               ful when there is awareness of the benefits
dearth of female role models to inspire           different skills and capacities of our mem-           of connectivity, the skills and confidence
younger generations and a substantial             bers, EQUALS is striving to reverse the digital       to exploit it and affordable, attractive con-
gender pay gap that many in the industry          gender divide and close the gender gap by             tent that meets women’s needs. EQUALS
privately acknowledge but are reticent to         2030, supporting United Nations Sustainable           is about generating fresh investment and
discuss.                                          Development Goal (SDG) 5 by empowering                exciting, creative public-private collabora-
      ITU has called time on the status quo.      women through their use of technology.                tion models to unlock the power of ICT
After several years of campaigning for gen-             To address the three core issues of             connectivity and fast-forward progress on
der equality in the tech sector through ini-      access, skills and leadership, EQUALS has             the SDGs.
tiatives including Girls in ICT Day and the       set up three dedicated coalitions. Its partners
annual GEM-Tech technology awards, we             can choose to get involved in the work of any
                                                                                                        1. In Silicon Valley women hold fewer than one in five tech
decided in 2016 to scale up global advo-          or all of them, depending on their areas of              jobs.
cacy by joining forces with other commit-         expertise and interest. To support the work of        2. In Africa, the proportion of women using the internet is
ted international organizations with a strong     these coalitions, the United Nations Univer-             25% lower than that of men.
track record on gender issues.                    sity is leading the EQUALS Research Group,            3. Closing the digital gender gap is crucial.

                                                                                                                              FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018 | 19
SPECIAL REPORT

In Vanuatu, ‘market mamas’
are taking care of business
SIMON HESS, Coordinator, and DEANNA RAMSAY, Communications Officer, Enhanced Integrated Framework

Women entrepreneurs are helping to restore island nation’s economy
after the ravages of Cyclone Pam

                                                                                                                                 © EIF / José Carlos Alexandre

T     he island nation of Vanuatu is sur-
      rounded by bright blue ocean, so it
      should come as no surprise that tour-
                                                 part by the hands of women whose liveli-
                                                 hoods depend on tourism dollars.
                                                      Rosalie Vatu is a so-called ‘market
                                                                                              Where the new beautification is at
                                                                                              the moment I always love to sit there
ism makes a hefty contribution to the coun-      mama’, an arts and crafts trader who sells   looking over the horizon. It means
try’s economy. That model was disrupted          assorted items ranging from t-shirts and     a lot to us. It’s a beautiful site.
in March 2015 when Cyclone Pam struck,           baskets to carvings and colourful dresses.
devastating the country and its tourism-         Her day starts at 4 a.m. making coconut      Handicrafts, a cooperative of more than
dependent income. Its recovery from that         crème rolls for a shop down the road. She    30 women who sell and promote products
natural disaster has been assisted in no small   is also the founder of Bulvanua Arts and     made in Vanuatu.

20 | FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018
© EIF / José Carlos Alexandre

                                                                                                                                                              © EIF / José Carlos Alexandre
TOURISM ECONOMY                                 restoring the local economy and the futures
Over the last decade the country has            of Vanuatu’s entrepreneurs.                        Profits were leaving the country
become an increasingly popular tourist des-          ‘We were convinced that the new               as quickly as they arrived. The key
tination, with its number of international      seafront could provide an opportunity to           to retaining the benefits of tourism
visitors growing by 42% and its tourism sec-    better showcase local goods to tourists and        was to be found in sourcing local
                                                                                                   products and presenting these
tor employing 55% of Vanuatu’s total labour     provide much-needed stimulus to the local
                                                                                                   to tourists, preferably outside the
force. Tourism represents nearly two-thirds     economy,’ Luen said.                               hotel environment.
of GDP.
     However, increased tourism has been        SEAFRONT DEVELOPMENT
a mixed blessing for some entrepreneurs.        With the help of the New Zealand govern-           seafront and are contacting him for orders,
Foreign-owned hotels have sprung up across      ment in partnership with the Enhanced              he now has enough income to send his
the main island, luring tourists to spend the   Integrated Framework, in September 2017            daughter to school,’ Luen said.
majority of their time and money in those       Vanuatu completed and launched its new                   In her efforts to better connect local
spaces rather than in local markets.            seafront development, now an enticing and          producers with traders, Vatu, who started
     According to Willie Luen, Principal        attractive area for locals and visitors alike.     selling goods to visitors in 2003, is already
Trade Development Officer at Vanuatu’s                The mamas’ handicrafts market was            seeing change.
Department of Tourism, to be competitive,       rebuilt with added power and internet                    ‘[Tourists] are no longer going back to
many of the traders began to rely on            access and the women are back in the               the shops where all the imported products
more cheaply priced imports, which then         centre of town selling creative artisanal          are,’ she said. ‘I see the opportunities that
depressed Vanuatu’s own production.             work, brightly coloured dresses and woven          men and women of Vanuatu can do out of
     ’Profits were leaving the country as       bags and baskets from the outer islands.           the local resources around them. With busy
quickly as they arrived. The key to retaining         In the process, they are generating          hands, they can create something to help
the benefits of tourism was to be found in      stronger linkages between tourists and             Vanuatu to build its economy.’
sourcing local products and presenting these    Vanuatu-made products and services.                      There is a lot more on the horizon for
to tourists, preferably outside the hotel             As tourist arrivals increase by a            Vatu with her business acumen, as well
environment,’ Luen said.                        projected 36% and the mamas pivot towards          as the others playing a role in boosting
     For Vatu and her fellow market mamas,      local producers, a supply chain is developing      local livelihoods and, with that, Vanuatu’s
the opportunity to boost their own businesses   that links the country’s many artisans to          economic recovery.
and that of people producing island-made        eager buyers at the new seafront, with the               ‘Where the new beautification is at the
items came with the redevelopment plans         promise of improving the lives of people           moment I always love to sit there looking
for Vanuatu’s storm-damaged seafront.           way beyond seaside kiosks.                         over the horizon,’ Rosalie said. ‘It means a
     Cyclone Pam had damaged or                       The impact on the lives of ordinary          lot to us. It’s a beautiful site.
destroyed 90% of the buildings on Vanuatu’s     people has been marked, Luen said. He
main island and that included the market        speaks of a highly visible change at least
infrastructure and ports.                       partly owing to the increased income from
     ‘We had to relocate temporarily and        tourism: new and better houses, schools
                                                                                                   1. Rosalie inspects a building in Port Vila destroyed by
during that time it was really sad for us       filling with children and markets, specifically       Cyclone Pam.
because we lost our businesses,’ Vatu said.     the thriving Port Villa Seafront.                  2. Rosalie weaves a basket.
     That meant the government’s post-                ‘One of the carvers recently told me         3. It’s 4 a.m. and Rosalie is up making coconut
cyclone reconstruction plans were critical to   that because people see his works on the              crème rolls.

                                                                                                                        FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018 | 21
SPECIAL REPORT

Women are key to achieving
the Sustainable Development Goals
CATHRINE G. JAHNSEN, Executive Programme Manager, Virke

Promoting trade as a tool for the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development

                                                                                                                                         © Virke

N
       orway has a long history of dedicated           Achieving Goal 5 – empowering all
       policy for achieving gender equality in   women and girls – of the 2030 Agenda             Women’s participation in the
       the workplace. Virke, the Enterprise      on Sustainable Development is crucial for        workforce plays a crucial part in
Federation of Norway, is a strong supporter      improving all parts of society. At Virke we      much-needed sustainable economic
of this agenda and believes it should be         consider inclusion of business – and espe-       growth and welfare – in Norway and
                                                                                                  elsewhere.
duplicated in development policies. Paid         cially the service sectors – a necessary part
work is an important part of transforming        of the solution. There is no doubt that inter-
from the notion that women are somehow           national trade is a prerequisite for sustaina-   imports from developing countries and
an economic burden to an equal contributor.      ble economic growth and thereby increased        emerging economies. A central part of this
Indeed, women’s participation in the work-       human welfare.                                   effort has been on promoting ethical trad-
force plays a crucial part in much-needed              Every day, Virke works to promote sus-     ing in compliance with international recog-
sustainable economic growth and welfare –        tainable economic growth and increased           nized conventions with partners home and
in Norway and elsewhere.                         welfare through free trade and increased         abroad. For example, in 2000, we were one

22 | FORUM ISSUE 1 | 2018
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