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Yvette Stevens, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Geneva and EIF Board Chair


The session will highlight how promoting gender equality is central to the work of the EIF, given that trade can be a powerful tool to harness the productive potential of women. With appropriate empowerment, women can contribute significantly to economic growth and development. Through the analytical work (Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies) and by supporting policies and projects directly aimed at women, the EIF promotes women's economic empowerment. More importantly, the EIF recognizes and actively promotes the role of women in enhancing the effectiveness of trade and poverty reduction in the LDCs.

The session will provide a spotlight on four country case stories showing how through putting in place the right trade foundations, the EIF supports countries in driving targeted projects that benefit women on the ground focusing on results and impact. These gender inclusive projects lead to more business, higher incomes, stronger livelihoods and a higher standard of living, all the while taking into account issues on sustainable land management and an inclusive community approach respectful of the environment, involving local farmers, traders and entrepreneurs.

The session will take a case story format with personal testimonies from a range of stakeholders on the ground to bring the local projects to life, complemented by input from development partners. There will be a series of speakers from countries, including business women, traders, cooperative leaders, small scale traders, policy makers and development partners from the donor perspective and international partner agencies. Interactive discussions from the floor from the LDCs and development and agency partners will help to pull out lessons learned in terms of removing gendered barriers to trade, enhancing women's capacity to trade and creating equal opportunities as well as providing a level playing field for both men and women. Participants will be encouraged to share experiences as well as successful sectoral examples and good practices in implementing gender-sensitive inclusive development strategies. The session will also provide a forum to discuss gender equality and women's economic empowerment in the LDCs within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, highlighting the EIF's role in contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.


  • Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director, Executive Secretariat for the EIF
  • Coulibaly Aissata Toure, Exportatrice de mangue, Gérante de la Société de Valorisation des Fruits (SOVAFY), Présidente du Réseau des Femmes Opératrices Économiques (REFOA) du Mali
  • Takakneary Seng, SentosaSilk Founder and President, Cambodian Women Entrepreneurs Association, Cambodia
  • Kuvien Para, Co-owner and Manager, Dolphin View Beach business, Solomon Islands
  • Louise Kayonga, Cooperative Secretary, Cooperative Twagure  Amarembo, Rwanda
  • Terhi Hakala, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations Office and International Organizations at Geneva
  • Elsbeth Akkerman, Minister Plenipotentiary and Deputy Permanent Representative,  Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva
  • Susan Barton, Senior Trade Policy Adviser, Trade Policy Unit, Department for International Trade, DFID
  • Arancha González, Executive Director, International Trade Centre
  • Paul Brenton, Lead Economist, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank