Rwandan women entrepreneurs tipped on doing business with UAE

By Nicole Kamanzi M.
On 23 November 2020 at 10:48

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to Rwanda, Hazza Alqahtani has told Rwanda women entrepreneurs that they have a unique opportunity to enter the Dubai market through the trade relations between the two countries.

He made the remarks while visiting the Rwanda Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs Forum (RCWE) on Thursday, November 19, 2020.

The Ambassador explained that the UAE has a population of approximately 10million, with 90% being foreigners who live, study & work in the UAE.

He emphasized the notion that: “The woman is half of the society, any country which pursues development should not leave her in poverty or illiteracy. I am on the woman’s side.”

“Today, by law the UAE Constitution guarantees equal rights to all of its citizens, including women who have the same legal status, to name but a few, the claim to titles, access to education, the right to practice professions, and the right to own as much properties as men do. Women can also own businesses,” said the Ambassador.

He stated that the World Bank’s 2020 Women, Business and the Law Report indicates that the UAE is one of the world’s top ten economies exhibiting the most progress toward gender equality.

The Ambassador explained that Emirati women in the UAE hold two-thirds of public sector jobs, with 30% in leadership roles and 15% in technical and academic roles.
25% of cabinet-level ministerial positions in the UAE are held by women. Women also make up 20% of the UAE’s diplomatic corps.

In October 2008, the first female judge was sworn-in in the UAE. There are currently 4 female judges, 2 public prosecutors and 17 assistant public prosecutors. In March 2019, two female judges were appointed to the Federal Judiciary for the first time.

In Business, the ambassador said that in 2017 the UAE had the highest number of women on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen with 19 Emirati women on the list.

Today 15% of board level positions nationwide are occupied by Emirati women.
The UAE’s aviation industry employs more female pilots, captains, and aircraft engineers than any other country in the Middle East & Northern Africa region.

Etihad Airways marked International Women’s Day 2019 with an all-female flight for the first time in UAE history. Women Captains piloted the Airbus A380 along with a 19-member all-female cabin crew from 13 nationalities & they were in charge of 398 guests.

In International Development, the Ambassador said that the empowerment and protection of women is one of the key pillars of the UAE’s foreign aid strategy.

The UAE has developed a "100 percent Women" Policy which aims to enhance the UAE’s commitment to the protection of women and girls’ as a part of all UAE funded humanitarian programs and projects implemented in humanitarian crises.

“To date the UAE has dedicated US $322 million for humanitarian initiatives and interventions focused on women and girls.”

In Defense, in 2014 the region’s first military college for women, Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School, opened in the UAE.

The UAE currently has four women fighter pilots and 30 women who work with the country’s special security forces.

The first Emirati and Arab female fighter pilot, Major Mariam Al Mansouri, made international headlines for leading UAE missions against ISIS.

In 2019 a military and peacekeeping training initiative, operated by the UN, in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Defense and the General Women’s Union in the UAE, trained over 130 women from multiple Arab countries.

These cadets have been trained to protect women’s rights, help reduce sexual violence and provide support to women in conflict zones globally.

“This program provides world-class training, physical fitness sessions and leadership development providing the same opportunity and responsibility to female cadets as is available to their male counterparts.” said the Ambassador

Women entrepreneurs were promised support

Women founders and executives of companies in Rwanda are happy with the opportunity but are asking for support in reaching the market.

Jessie Kalisa said she has always had a dream of meeting someone who can take her to the Dubai market and do business.

"I used to dream of meeting someone in Dubai. How do I start a business in Dubai? ”
Ambassador Hazza Alqahtani said he would connect them with people who would help them so that they could start investing.

“My advice to you is to get together and open a store. I have no doubt that you will behave well. making baskets, oils, Rwandan coffee, is something that will attract many. ”

Other businesses that have been shown to be lucrative include export of fruits; pineapples, oranges, and mangoes.

The Minister of Gender and Family Development, Prof Bayisenge Jeannette, said the government would continue to promote women in business.

“The visit was aimed at exchanging information between the two countries and showing that women have been given the opportunity to thrive. It is to re-energize women and tell them that the country is ready to support them where possible. Opportunities like this are important because it allows them to see where they can better connect with different donors. ”

Economists predict that empowering women in investment could boost global gross domestic product by $ 12 billion by 2025.

Statistics from the Rwanda Private Sector (PSF) show that 42% of companies are run by women in the country.

Of the more than 12 million Rwandans, 52% are female. A report by the International Monetary Fund shows that women contribute 30% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).