Botswana Trade Commission Chief Executive Officer, Shirley Moncho appealed to government to facilitate easy accessibility and cheaper usage of digital tools for small businesses to enable cross border trade.

Speaking during the Pan African Women’s Forum, Moncho highlighted that although government has tried to reduce internet prices last year, the prices are still expensive for small businesses which are mostly operated by women. She said the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) can only be successful if women are participating in cross border trade. “Tariffs should be reduced.

In 2020, the tariffs were used but there is more to be done for women in rural areas. AfCFTA can only happen if women are participating fully in cross border trade. But the problem is the limited resources for digital tools.”


She said cross border trade is enhanced by the use of digital tools but these digital tools are not favorable and are very expensive for women and SMMEs. “There is a need for proper infrastructure in place to allow everyone across the country to connect to the internet, especially rural areas where women are.

They don’t need to come to Gaborone to access infrastructures so we appeal to government to put infrastructure in place for those women.” Statistic shows that women make up 58 percent of the continent’s self-employed population, but the report by World Bank, Profiting from Parity shows that women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa continue to earn lower profits than men (34 percent less on average).

In her Report, World Bank Gender Innovation Lab Analyst , Fannie Delavelle highlighted that Bridging gender gaps requires identifying and implementing programs and policies that target the specific constraints that women entrepreneurs face. “National government leaders and other stakeholders across Africa are recognizing that women are a force for growth – but could be even more. Bridging gender gaps requires identifying and implementing programs and policies that target the specific constraints that women entrepreneurs face.”