Federation of National Associations of Women in Business in Eastern and Southern Africa (FEMCOM) is a COMESA institution whose core mandate is to promote activities of women in business in COMESA and beyond in line with Article 155 of the COMESA Treaty. FEMCOM implements the AU Gender Agenda and related mandates including the Agenda 2030 as well as the UN Declarations including the SDGs Agenda 2030 goal No. 5.

African governments have an urgent obligation to prioritize the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 Agenda and especially deliver on goal 5 on achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls everywhere. To ensure that African governments are held accountable on the above responsibility, Africa Women’s Rights Organizations embarked on a strategic roadmap to interrogate the SDGs implementation process and ensure that women and girls in all African countries are the centre of following up and monitoring the effective implementation. .

The event hosted by FEMNET- the African women’s development & Communications network – in Nairobi, Kenya attracted over 150 African Women’s Rights Organizations from 35 African Countries. It was the very first biggest Women’s Pan-African Convening since the adoption of the SDGs 2030 in 2015. To this forum FEMCOM CEO Mrs. Katherine Ichoya was in attendance, accompanied by the communications consultant Lillian Nyaga.

Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE) is a development imperative within 2030 Agenda and Africa Agenda 2063. In particular, SDG Goal 5 aims to tackle the major structural causes of gender inequality including unpaid care work, violence against women, discriminatory laws, amongst others. On the other hand, Africa Agenda 2063 outlines the plan for structural transformation and a shared strategic framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development. One of the aspirations articulated in Agenda 2063 is to realize ‘(a)n Africa whose development is people driven, especially relying on the potential offered by its Youth and Women’. Under this umbrella, Goal 15 specifically refers to the need to achieve ‘full gender equality in all spheres of life’.

The conference provided an opportunity to discuss the best ways for the African women’s movement to engage in the processes of monitoring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda/SDGs and Africa Agenda 2063 and demand action on gender equality and women’s empowerment related targets and goals. The Conference raised awareness and mobilized key senior government officials, private sector, regional organisations, media and other stakeholders, about the importance of GEWE in the SDGs and Africa Agenda 2063.

FEMCOM promotes the activities of women in business in the COMESA region and beyond through CREATING an enabling environment for the effective participation of women in the Common Market trade and development activities, POLICY ADVOCACY, and FACILITATING linkages between women in economic enterprise and regional as well as international markets, networks, investment and export opportunities, and further PROVIDING access to key information and market research with regards to developments in business, industry, trade, services, agriculture, fishing, energy, transport, communications, mining, environment and natural resources, all focused towards EMPOWERING women.
After attending the convening FEMCOM will work to enhance relationship with FEMNET and build synergy to enhance visibility of issues of women including women in business and trade.

Story by Lillian Nyaga
Communications Consultant