Three Continents, Similar Challenges for Women Business Owners

While all MSMEs in developing and least-developed countries face obstacles to trade, women-owned businesses must overcome additional gender-based challenges, according to an international study released today.

To better understand the obstacles that women-owned businesses in developing and least-developed countries must overcome to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to participants in world markets, the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (the Alliance) and WEConnect International conducted a study involving women with trade experience in Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Nigeria.

In a series of workshops and surveys, the participants in all three countries listed red tape among their biggest challenges and proposed a broad range of possible solutions. While women-owned businesses share many of the same problems as other micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), they cited additional barriers, including harassment from border officials and lack of specific information for women traders.

Many of the problems are addressed in the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The Alliance is supporting the governments in partnership with their private sectors in all three countries to implement its provisions, making trade more efficient and cost-effective.

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