by Marlon Madden
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is currently examining the possibility of becoming a regional hub for the global She Trades initiative, which is designed to tackle barriers women face in accessing economic opportunities. This announcement has come from President of the CDB Dr Gene Leon, as he gave an insight into several strategic initiatives being put in place by the Barbados-based financial institution to help the region meet its development goals.
She Trades, which was established by the International Trade Centre, works to empower millions of women entrepreneurs around the world to overcome barriers they face to grow their businesses, and to connect them to global markets while creating a more inclusive business ecosystem, with the aim of contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The CDB president said he believed his financial institution can become a hub for the initiative, as he indicated that inclusive trade was a critical component to achieving gender parity.
“It creates more job opportunities for women with higher wages and better working conditions. CDB is currently appraising the establishment of a CDB-led regional hub for She Trades, joining a global practice with a global partner, and would also be in a position to either match or leverage additional resources to improve market access for women-owned businesses,” said Leon. “Moreover, CDB would be able to anchor its future interventions in a programmatic fashion. CDB continues to help boost women’s participation in private sector developments in its borrowing member countries and is currently coordinating more support to expand their access to technical finance and investment, training, coaching and mentoring and other technical assistance,” he announced.
He said the aim was to meet a target of over 2,000 women-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) by 2024. “This specific support is viewed as critical to increase the participation of these enterprises in public procurement matters,” he said, while encouraging regional governments to play their part in helping to tackle the barriers facing women-led businesses.
“The Bank is also encouraging the governments in its borrowing member countries to ensure that their public procurement frameworks addressing the systemic barriers to women’s participation and that they also promote increased participation by and opportunities for women-owned businesses, indigenous people and persons with disabilities,” he said. Leon was addressing the opening ceremony of the financial institution’s 52nd annual meeting recently in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Pointing to some of the other initiatives on which the CDB will be placing emphasis over the next year, Leon said one area was that of the development of a knowledge hub. He explained that this would help to “address the region’s fragmented knowledge and information management processes that have limited the region’s ability to initiate and sustain important policy reforms”.
“Ready access to updated information and accurate information is a prerequisite for evidence-based effective knowledge creation and decision-making. Going forward, we need to eliminate this fragmentation by building a common platform to accumulate, analyse, transform and share knowledge in the economic, social and environmental dimensions,” he explained. He also noted that the CDB would be implementing “internal resilience capacity concepts” to better develop vulnerability and resilience tools for adaption in the bank’s operational processes.
“This tool will enable a deeper diagnosis of vulnerability and resilience in countries and provide some assessment of their overall ability to recover from shocks and maintain ongoing economic and social processes,” he said.
He also noted that another initiative on the cards was to “foster the idea of a single digital space”, which he explained would promote the development of “appropriate, harmonised, regulatory and security frameworks; and upgrade IT infrastructure and access to broadband services across public and private sectors” in order to bridge the digital divide by the year 2035.
Credit: Source link