The High Commission of Canada in South Africa has partnered the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum to run an e-commerce capacity development programme for women entrepreneurs in South Africa.
Funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, the activity will enhance market access for women entrepreneurs through building knowledge, capacity, and skills in digital channels.
E-commerce is one of the most dynamically growing business sectors in Africa with retailing online providing small and medium enterprises and the informal sector solutions to keep running and reaching customers during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
A 2019 online retail study found that, in 2018, e-commerce totalled more than R14bn or 1.4 per cent of total retail sales in South Africa.
“As Africa pursues an ambitious regional eTrade agenda through the $3.2tn African Continental Free Trade Area, the increasing growth potential and acceleration of e-commerce is coming into sharp focus,” said AWIEF Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Irene Ochem.
She noted further, “Women have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns, and women are more than ever at risk of being left behind in the adoption of digital technologies to rebuild businesses in a post-COVID world.
“This programme aims to increase women’s participation and success in online business, prepare them to capitalise on new opportunities enabled by the increasingly evolving digital economy, and expand their market access intra-Africa and globally.”
Forty South African women entrepreneurs will be provided with technical learning, training, and mentoring support on how to start, grow, and scale e-commerce businesses.