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Connectivity agenda to increase women’s share in intra-Commonwealth trade

24 January 2019

The Commonwealth and the Government of Malaysia will host a conference to boost women’s participation in digital technology and global trade.

The Public Private Dialogue on Women in the Digital Economy and International Trade takes place from 29-30 January in Kuala Lumpur in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC).

Over 500 delegates, including trade officials, businesswomen and grassroots women associations, from over 20 Commonwealth countries will launch the work of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda. Leaders adopted the Agenda at the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to boost trade and investment among 53-member bloc. It consists of five clusters which are physical, digital, regulatory, business-to-business and supply side.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland reiterated Commonwealth heads’ mandate to place inclusive and sustainable trade at the heart of the Connectivity Agenda.

She said: “In this year when we celebrate ‘A Connected Commonwealth’, the dialogue in Kuala Lumpur will be a valuable opportunity for our member countries engage with women-led businesses from across the Commonwealth, and to hear their priorities for intra-Commonwealth trade.

“They will work together to identify ways in which these priorities can be mainstreamed, as new measures and mechanisms for deepening trade and investment among Commonwealth member countries are agreed and implemented.”

Following the launch, 40 delegates will discuss each cluster of the Agenda with a focus on increasing women’s share in global trade and promoting digital inclusion.

Delegates will identify challenges faced by women in trade and how the Agenda can address those through gender-responsive policies, partnerships and sharing good practices. 

The conference draws on the complementary strengths of the Commonwealth and ITC to tackle key trade and gender issues, in order to help unlock potential gains for women in trade.