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A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the National Women Entrepreneur Council (NWEC) and the Federation of National Associations of Women in Business in Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (FEMCOM) on August 28, 2014 to cover various areas of cooperation over a three-year period.

Held at Voilà Hotel in Bagatelle, the signature took place in the presence of the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mireille Martin.

The agreement was signed by the chairperson, Vimi Anuradha Appadoo, on behalf of the NWEC, and the Chief Executive Officer of FEMCOM, Katherine Ichoya.

The aim of this MoU is to provide technical and advisory services to NWEC relative to the Business Incubator for African Women Entrepreneurship Development and the promotion and implementation of the COMESA Cluster Development Initiative in Mauritius.

In addition, the MoU enhances capacity building for women entrepreneurship development through the availability of technical resources; facilitates intra COMESA trade and investment for women entrepreneurs; and a joint advocacy for mobilization of resources aimed at the implementation of environmentally sustainable projects.

A press conference was held before the signing ceremony where Minister Mireille Martin announced that the NWEC figures under the FEMCOM Chapter for Mauritius, because FEMCOM has established Chapters with national associations of 19 COMESA Member States to encourage the implementation of its activities through a forum to give the opportunity to women entrepreneurs of the sub region to exchange ideas and experience.

FEMCOM acts as an instrument for encouraging and facilitating the setting up of enterprises or expansion of existing ones through the facilitation of increased access to resources and assistance as well as for achieving women’s full integration into trade and development activities.

Minister Mireille Martin said that the signature of agreement and designation of NWEC as FEMCOM’s local chapter are examples of new developments, which provide women entrepreneurs with easy access to widen their business possibilities.

“It is an additional positive outcome for women entrepreneurs in Mauritius to tap into the COMESA market through the facilities provided by FEMCOM”, she said.

According to the latter, the NWEC will stimulate the local businesswomen to embrace regional and international markets.

As for Katherine Ichoya, FEMCOM was dedicated to work closely with NWEC to ensure that the objectives of the MoU are achieved.

According to her a joint mobilization of resources and collaboration is needed in order to enable women entrepreneurs to improve their skills, add value to their products, increase production and facilitate business exposure to enable them to have access to markets in the COMESA region and beyond.

Additionally, Katherine Ichoya said that the island could be a showcase of good practices in the region.

Representatives of various women entrepreneurs associations and co-operatives had the opportunity to participate in a networking session, which encouraged them to set up sustainable enterprises and promote a culture of entrepreneurship among Mauritian women by being aware of opportunities to explore more business ventures at regional level.

Image ( Minister Mireille Martin (2nd from the left), Katherine Ichoya of FEMCOM and Vimi Appadoo of the NWEC. The agreement allows the capacity building for women entrepreneurship development through the availability of technical resources and facilitates intra COMESA trade and investment for women entrepreneurs.

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