Women play a major role in Burundi’s national economy and represent 55.2 percent of the workforce. They are particularly active in the agricultural sector which provides 90 percent of food production and 90 percent of the country’s export.
In line with further empowering women in the country, the Federation of Women in Business for Eastern and Southern Africa (FEMCOM), in partnership with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) Spanish Fund, came up with a project to support women in Burundi’s textile industry.
Facilitated through the Business Incubator for African Women Entrepreneurs (BIAWE), the project is aimed at creating jobs for women in Burundi. They will be trained on how to produce high-quality cloth by undergoing skills and entrepreneurial empowerment training.
BIAWE Project Coordinator, Darlene Hakizimana stated that the women entrepreneurs will be equipped with business skills and technically trained to use industrial sewing machines to manufacture creative and well-designed textile products.
Post-training, the women are encouraged to form cooperatives to empower themselves financially and through coaching and mentorship programs for the sustainability of their businesses.
According to Ms. Hakizimana, the BIAWE project will also create strategic partnerships with different institutions in the country and beyond. These partnerships will enable trainees to connect with off-takers and a market for their products.
These networks will create a great opportunity for designers and entrepreneurs who would want to craft their own brand using local arts and traditions that will attract local, regional, and international customers, she said.
More so, the Burundi Investment Promotion Authority (API) believes that the initiative will greatly benefit the agriculture sector by promoting the growth of local cotton, a raw material for most garments and textiles.
FEMCOM project in the textile sector aims to empower women in different sectors in COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) Member States where the association has its footprints.