Context and initiative
According to the latest predictions of the World Economic Forum it will take another 108 years to close the existing economic gender gap on a world-wide average. The German development cooperation in collaboration with partners from the private sector is contributing to closing this gap. Following a thorough gender assessment in 2017, which revealed that only 15% of the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs) worldwide were attending to specific gender needs and challenges the ExperTS Programme identified entry points to boost women’s economic participation. In 2019, 30 integrated experts (ExperTS) were working at and advising AHKs on amongst other subjects addressing and reaching out to women entrepreneurs and the business environment they live and operate in.
Gender – a quality feature of our work
Since 2018, promoting gender equality and women’s economic participation and leadership is an integral part of the ToR and performance assessment of ExperTS. They sensitize their clients and partners, forge partnerships with business associations and private sector representatives, match local producers with markets abroad, organize training and mentoring programmes and facilitate peer learning and exchange. As a result, by the end of 2019 almost 50% of all AHK offered specific services to boost women’s economic perspectives and performance.
In Tanzania, the activities of the ExperTS led to the establishment of the Tanzania German Family Business Initiative, which aims to export the organically certified superfoods Moringa and Baobab produced by female headed small and medium scale enterprises to Europe. To broaden the impact the 12 female entrepreneurs, who had the chance to benefit from ExperTS, actively participate in and share their experience with other members of the Tanzanian Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs through a mentoring programme.
In Laos, the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDL (ECCIL) with the support of ExperTS and together with the Lao Women’s Business Association (LWBA), DFAD and the Australian Chamber of Commerce offered female leadership and career development seminars for female students and professionals. Due to the high response – 180 participants in 2018 and 300 in 2019 – ECCIL established the Lao Female Mentoring Programme for women between the ages of 18 and 35. The latter has attracted the chairmanship of European Ambassadors and secured firm cooperation of the Lao Women’s Business Union, the LWBA and the Banque Franco Lao, which has established a special credit scheme for participants.
In order to close the digital gender gap and match skills with the ever-growing digital labor market demand, the AHKs in Sao Paulo and Maputo together with SAP, Siemens and GFT (a medium sized IT Company) established the project “Women going digital”. The project started off in February 2020 with 100 female participants.
All gender projects established under the ExperTS Programme are designed in such a way that they are financially self-sustaining and can be offered as a service by the AHKs in the long term.