Laying of Foundation Stone by Minister of Trade
The Cameroon Minister of Trade laid the Foundation Stone for the first Gender-Sensitive Market and Commercial Centre at Kyeossi, frontier town between Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, on 19 June, together with the Resident Coordinator of the UN System in Cameroon, the UN Women Representative, in the presence of the Representative of the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the Family.
Governors of the 3 border regions (South Region of Cameroon, Wolleu-Ntem of Gabon and Kye-Ntem of Equatorial Guinea) assisted at the event which witnessed the official opening of the 4th Central Africa Trans-Border Trade Fair dubbed FOTRAC.
According to the Representative of UN Women in Cameroon, “the economic empowerment of women is one of the 5 key areas of UN Women and is committed since 2008 in Cameroon through the programme PAFICIT (Support for Women in Informal trans-border trade) to include the construction of a Gender Sensitive commercial structure that will permit women to be fully engaged and increase generation of income”.
The total cost for these gender-sensitive commercial structures in Kyeossi, in the South Region, Mora in the Far North Region and Idenau in the South-West Region is 145 million CFA Franc after a feasibility study of 50 million CFA Franc and 40 million CFA Franc for capacity building of women involved in cross border trade.
The Gender Sensitive market or commercial structure carters to women sellers by providing a roof to keep them safe from rain or sun, sleeping space for infants, breast feeding space, hygiene and sanitation facilities like toilets, water pumps, dustbins, and storage facilities including cold rooms. This allows women to stay at the market longer without fear or handicap.
The Minister of Trade lauded the initiative by UN Women and emphasized the commitment of the Government of Cameroon to partner with UN Women through PAFICIT. He proclaimed the initiative as “An excellent example of a new type of partnership for the most vulnerable group of society” and saluted the massive presence of women and men participants at the Trade Fair from Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, Togo and Cameroon.
The Mayor of Kyeossi on behalf of the population of the 3 frontier regions as well as the President of Network of Active Women of CEMAC – REFAC, expressed gratitude to UN Women for their “great gift”. The event was widely covered by government officials, commercial agents, women traders, youth and the media.