The Brussels Briefing on the subject of “Women entrepreneurs – key players in ACP agribusiness development” took place on Thursday 17 September 2015 from 9:00h to 13:00h at the ACP Secretariat (451 Avenue Georges Henri, 1200 Brussels, Room C ).

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Research has found strong reasons to emphasize women’s economic empowerment in developing programs: firstly, economic empowerment is one of the most powerful routes for women to achieve their potential and advance their rights; secondly, since women make up the majority of the world’s poor, meeting poverty-reduction goals requires addressing women and their economic empowerment; thirdly, discrimination against women is economically inefficient and national economies lose out when a substantial part of the population cannot complete equitably or realize its full potential; moreover, working with women makes good business sense: when women have the rights skills and opportunities, they can help business and markets grow; finally, women who are economically empowered contribute more to their families, societies and national economies. It has been shown that women invest extra income in their children, providing a route to sustainable development.

Women make significant contributions to the rural economy in all regions of the world. In developing countries, women make up on average about 40 percent of the labour force, ranging from 20 percent in Latin America to 50 percent or more in certain parts of Africa and Asia. Women’s role range from being cultivators on their own or others plots-as unpaid or paid workers, employers or employees-to being wage-labourers in on- and off-farm enterprises, alongside their key role as providers of unpaid care work in their households and communities.

However, in many settings women face more constraints than men in accessing key productive resources such as land and to services such as credit, extension and social protection; they face wage discrimination in rural labour markets and often work without remuneration on family farms. This limits their capacity to contribute to agricultural production and take advantage of new opportunities.

To improve information sharing and promote networking, CTA, the DG DEVCO from the European Commission, the ACP Secretariat, Concord and various media organise bimonthly briefings on key issues and challenges for rural development in the context of EU/ACP cooperation. The Briefing on 17th September 2015, will discuss the key challenges and new opportunities to enhance women’s led agribusiness. The Briefing will: i) review women’s entrepreneurs successes and the lessons learned from research and practice; ii) promote the exchange of information on best practices and drivers of success; iii) feed into the debate various perspectives on policy options.


NEW! on the subject of Women entrepreneurs

Background note and Programme




Biodata of the speakers

Resources & Glossary


Introduction of the Briefing: Isolina Boto, Manager, CTA Brussels Office [Video]

Introductory remarks: Viwanou Gnassounou, Assistant-Secretary General of the ACP Group of States in charge of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade [Video] ; Jean-Pierre Halkin, Head of Unit, Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition, European Commission/EuropeAid European Commission/Europaid [Video] ; Michael Hailu, Director of CTA [Video]

Panel 1: Enhancing women’s-led agribusiness development

Chair, Panel 1: H.E. Mpeo Mahase-Moiloa, Ambassador of Lesotho [Video]

– Gender dimensions of agribusiness development

Stephanie Barrientos, Professor, Institute of Development Policy and Management and Associate Director, Brooks World Poverty Institute, University of Manchester [Video|Working Paper|Presentation]

– Factors of competitiveness of women entrepreneurs and their participation in trade

Christian Planchette, Senior Training Officer, Enterprise Competitiveness, International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations [Video|Presentation]

– Agribusiness development in the Pacific: challenges and opportunities for women

Mereia Volavola, CEO, Pacific Island Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) [Video|Presentation]

– Support from EIB to women entrepreneurs and to the agribusiness sector

Jacqueline Church, Policy Officer, European Investment Bank (EIB) [Video]

Debate [Video]

Panel 2: Women’s entrepreneurs successes in ACP regions

Introduction to Panel 2: Isolina Boto, Manager, CTA Brussels Office [Video]

Chair, Panel 2: H.E. Paolelei Luteru, Ambassador of Samoa [Video]

– Adding value locally through differentiated fish product

Lovin Kobusingye, Managing Director, Kati Farms Uganda  [Video|Presentation]

– Pioneering a local food processing industry for improved nutrition

Simone Zoundi, CEO, Sodepal, Burkina Faso  [Video|Presentation]

– Organic Farm to Table: creating a sustainable supply chain supporting women

Alberta Vitale, Associate Director, Women in Business Dev. (WIBDI), Samoa [Video|Presentation]

– Production and Trade of Coconut Oil in Guyana

Rosemund Benn, President, Pomeroon Women Agro-Processor Association, Guyana [Video|Presentation]

– Cattle and maize production supplied to local market

Tepsy Ntseoane, Eve’s Eden Farming Enterprise, South Africa [Video|Presentation]

Debate [Video]

Conclusion, H.E. Paolelei Luteru, Ambassador of Samoa [Video]

Conclusion, Michael Hailu, Director, CTA [Video]