Showcasing the Trade Hub co-investment partners leveraging technology to advance food security

Women make essential contributions to the agricultural and rural economies in all developing countries. Their roles, which vary considerably between and within regions, are changing rapidly in many parts of the world where economic and social forces are transforming the agricultural sector. Notably, the sector is underperforming in many countries partly due to the fact that women face constraints that reduce their productivity. These constraints vary, ranging from lack of access to farmlands to cultural beliefs which limit women from farming to lack of access to agricultural technologies and innovations.

Despite these persistent challenges, agribusinesses in Africa are putting in motion plans to improve the livelihoods of these women and introduce them to technological advancements or innovations that will increase their productivity and, in the long run, create employment opportunities for women and youth.

The West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) hosted a webinar, “Women Advancing Technology and Agribusiness: Showcasing the Trade Hub co-investment partners leveraging technology to advance food security” on March 15, 2023. The webinar featured panelists from three co-investment partners in the agricultural sector who discussed the importance of women’s involvement in agribusiness and how they have successfully leveraged technology to scale up their respective productions. The partners—AMAATI Company Limited, AFEX Nigeria Limited, and NALMACO Nigeria Limited—all shared their experiences and models of operation that are geared toward getting more women involved in their respective areas of coverage.

The webinar, which gathered over 60 participants, was co-facilitated by Aor Ikyaabo and Tia Swain, both Communications Specialists with the Trade Hub. An introductory poll was followed by opening remarks from the Chief of Party for the Trade Hub, Robin Wheeler, who welcomed participants and reiterated the fantastic work the Trade Hub grantees are doing, especially in the areas of job creation, women’s empowerment, and advancing technology in their businesses. Ann Apekey, the Trade Hub’s Gender and Social Inclusion Manager, then shared an overview of the Trade Hub and how resolute and intentional it is regarding gender inclusion in all of its activities.  

The next section of the webinar included the introduction of the panelists (Salma Abdulai, CEO and Co-Founder of AMAATI LTD; Abubakar Abdulwahab, Monitoring, Evaluation, & Learning Specialist at NALMACO; and Farhat Kunmi-Olayiwola, Head of Strategy & Corporate Finance at AFEX Nigeria LTD) and an overview of the work they are doing related to women’s empowerment and the role of technology in their businesses. Their presentations and the following Q&A session shed light on the importance of the Trade Hub’s co-investment partnership to their respective businesses and the successes yielded so far.

“The co-investment from the Trade Hub allowed AMAATI to explore. We were able to acquire a customized thresher for fonio exclusively, and this helped us reduce post-harvest losses, which led to an increase in production. The demand for fonio is what is giving us the revenue and the revenue is what we are using to create more impact in the society that we work in,” remarked Salma Abdulai.

The event wrapped up formally with closing remarks by Aor Ikyaabo (Trade Hub); however, panelists remained online to respond to a specific question regarding their efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

From start to finish, participants gained knowledge of the Trade Hub’s activities with partners and specifically how women’s empowerment is at the heart of its activities across West Africa.

Watch the webinar recording here: