The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and TradeMark East Africa has released the East African Community Regional Integration: Trade and Gender Implications report. The report studied the impact of regional trade policies within the East African Community (EAC) on the lives of women in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda.

TradeMark East Africa CEO, Mr. Frank Matsaert and Secretary General of UNCTAD Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi.

The report is compiled with a view towards increasing women’s empowerment in the region. Some challenges facing East African women highlighted are: limited access to secondary and tertiary education, access to credit facilities is still difficult for majority of women and women’s involvement in care work which strains their economic productivity.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • The gender gap in secondary and tertiary education and the need to put in place skill development programmes that will enable women to match work requirements in higher-value-added sectors
  • Establishment of a regional credit mechanism to support women entrepreneurs across EAC countries, since existing country-level mechanisms have proved insufficient
  • Inclusion of a monitoring tool to assess the implementation of the 2017 EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill

The report conclusively highlights the importance creating policies that address gender inequalities and ensure that women fully benefit from international trade.