IOM and COMESA Commemorate International Women’s Day, COMESA Secretariat 7th March 2019, Lusaka Zambia

Lusaka — International Women’s Day has created an opportunity for all women and men across the globe to come together and bring key messages on gender equality to the fore and to create a common activism agenda on issues such as the right to vote, right to maternal health care, right to non-discrimination and an affirmation of the principle of equality in general. The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men.

On the 8th of March Zambia, will join the rest of the world in commemorating the International Women’s Day (IWD) under the theme Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change. The theme focuses on innovative ways through which gender equality, the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure can be advanced. The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially advancing gender equality, requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions.

In view of the foregoing, IOM (International Organization for Migration) Zambia in collaboration with the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) Secretariat is implementing a programme of support to small scale cross border traders, which seeks to increase formal cross border trade which will in turn lead to increased revenue collection at the borders, increased security and increased incomes for cross border traders. The project is funded by the European Union under the11th EDF.

In line with the 2019 commemorations for the IWD, IOM, in collaboration with the Cross-Border Trader’s Association, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and the Government of the Republic of Zambia, convened a half day event at the COMESA Secretariat in Lusaka, which reached more than 60 female small scale cross border traders and other partners in Lusaka.

The Guest of Honour for the event was the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. In her speech she stated that “The contribution of small scale cross border traders to food security is significant as most of them trade in raw agricultural products and processed food items”.

The event shared innovative technologies with the traders to help them increase the efficiency of their trade and to improve access to services and protection while they are on the move.  These innovations included secure, cost effective and user-friendly financing solutions by the United Bank of Africa, and the International Organization for Migration’s MigApp. MigApp is a mobile application to helps to provide persons on the move with access to information on much needed services, travel, health and other related information.

The event was also graced by senior Government officials from the Ministry of Gender, the IOM Chief of Mission, CBTA Representatives, and the United Bank for Africa. IOM Chief of Mission, Ms. Marianne Lane also highlighted that “IOM recognizes that women and girls represent a significant proportion of people on the move… and travel with aspirations, innovative ideas and a diverse range of skills and experiences”.

In his speech COMESA Assistant Secretary General of Programmes Ambassador Dr. Kipyengo Cheluget mentioned that “it is therefore my expectation that we as COMESA Secretariat will work closely with relevant authorities, complement and coordinate with various cooperating partners to support, recognize and celebrate the contributions made by our women small scale cross border traders to the economy and livelihood of households.”

This event celebrates the important contribution of female traders to development. It recognises the underlying principle for the 2030 Agenda to ‘Leave No One Behind’.

For more information please contact Emmanuel Sinkala at IOM Zambia, Tel: +260 211 254055, Email: