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Diaspora Insurance backs inaugural East Africa women’s business and investment summit

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By UK Correspondent


THE inaugural East African women’s business and investment summit was recently held in London backed by leading insurance and risk solutions company, Diaspora Insurance, which operations now span Europe, the Americas and some 13 African countries.

Jointly convened by the High Commissioners of Kenya and Uganda to London, the summit sought to present investors and women in business across the UK and the East African Community (EAC) with a platform to network as well as explore opportunities in the east Africa region.

Significantly too, the summit discussed challenges arising from climate change in the EAC region and the need to “build more sustainable and resilient businesses while returning good shareholder value”.

Diaspora Insurance was one of the summit sponsors of the event with executive director, Dr Sybert Mandega, highlighting the company’s commitment to supporting women in business.

“Diaspora Insurance is excited to be working with the governments of Kenya and Uganda through their missions in the UK to promote women in business,” he said.

“Women form the backbone of African communities, and we believe that by creating more opportunities for women in business improves the welfare of our communities.”

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The summit was attended by the high commissioners of Kenya and Uganda to the United Kingdom, representatives of the Commonwealth as well as senior British government officials.

Paulo Kautoke, a senior trade director with the Commonwealth, said although women make up half of the world’s population, the contribute less that 37 per cent of its GDP.

“Women entrepreneurs, especially in the developing countries, face a number of challenges that prevent them from integrating in local and global value chains or even setting up their own businesses.”

UK prime minister’s trade envoy for to Kenya and Conservatives legislator Theo Clarke

The UK prime minister’s trade envoy for to Kenya and Conservatives legislator Theo Clarke outlined the programmes being implemented by the British government to support education and women business in the east Africa region.

“You may be aware of the Commonwealth programme on ‘SheTrades’ … for me it is a fantastic example of where the UK is supporting women-owned businesses to take advantage of online trading opportunities with digital platforms,” she said.

“I hope the programme will continue with this initiative in addition to the UK’s digital access programme which is focussed on enhancing digital skills from community health workers to farmers and SMEs.”

She added; “There are tremendous opportunities for the UK to do more work with the EAC (and) I really welcome this conference today. It’s fantastic to see a focus on women, business and trade.”

The EAC region, Uganda’s High Commissioner to the UK Nimisha Jayant Madhvani explained offers investors access to more than 1,3 billion consumers across all 55 African counties “ as well as abundant natural resources “from agricultural to mineral wealth”.

“Women entrepreneurs can harness these resources sustainably while generating significant returns … up to 30 percent of your investment (in comparison) what do you get in the UK? May be 5-6 percent after your taxes.

The cabinet secretary for the EAC region in the Kenyan government Rebecca Miano commended the summit’s focus on women.

“I consider the focus on women a confirmation that the spirit of gender complementarity has slowly but surely demolished myths that hitherto held certain chores as a preserve of one gender and a no-go- zone for the other.”