The Malawi chapter of Commonwealth Businesswomen (CBW) was launched this week at the British High Commissioner’s Residence in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
The event was hosted by DFID, Dzuka Africa, Belle Afrique and Mzuzu Entrepreneurs Hub as partners
CBW Malawi brought together around 100 women in business and various organizations that are vested in supporting women in business to engage with private sector, governments, media and other stakeholders to champion the cause of women entrepreneurship at a local, national, regional and international level, as well as to drive trade and good entrepreneurship practice and education across all 53 Commonwealth countries.
Speaking during the launch, British High Commissioner to Malawi Holly Tett expressed optimism that CBW will improve lives of women who are doing business in the country.
“It makes much more economic sense to trade within the Commonwealth. It is what is called the ‘Commonwealth Advantage. It is very exciting to see the Commonwealth Businesswomen Malawi chapter being formed, which has a dedicated leadership that is hungry to support women and help them grow their businesses for the country’s prosperity.
“As well as doing trade within and across borders, the network will give women a voice with policymakers to ensure that women entrepreneurship has a better environment and greater practices.” Tett said.
Speaking at the same function, CBW Malawi director Dineo Mkwezalamba highlighted that CBW Malawi has launched the chapter with a focus on 21 sectors aiming to economically empower 441 women.
“CBW Malawi will be working with the rest of the Commonwealth countries across the globe with a big focus to tap into Africa’s vast resource pool and through our initiatives we will create access to information, markets and finance with partnerships across all Commonwealth countries,” she said.
In her remarks, Minister of Gender Dr Jean Kalirani hailed the launch of the CBW saying the organisation will empower women economically.
“Through our ministry we will work hand in hand to support women economically through CBW Malawi’s initiatives.” Kalirani said.
The network will link and support women entrepreneurs as they aim to contribute at the heart of national development and is geared towards trade, talent and training.
The connections will help drive trade and employment, and build regional cohesion, in direct alignment with Sustainable Development Goals which are gender equality, promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Commonwealth Businesswomen Africa was launched at the end of 2017 across Africa as a strategic regional partner to Commonwealth Businesswomen, working towards women economic empowerment and leadership and connecting businesswomen in Africa to the Commonwealth world.
It is a platform to empower and uplift women and to enable and encourage trade for women in business across the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.
CBW is the only accredited membership organisation that is recognised by the official Commonwealth governments across the five continents for women economic empowerment. It connects and supports women entrepreneurs at all stages of their business journeys, especially within small and medium enterprises.
New members will be able to join the chapter by signing up through the Commonwealth Businesswomen Africa website.
The CBW Malawi executive committee comprises of Wangiwe Joanna Kambuzi (Director of CBW Malawi, Co-Founder of Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub) – Dineo Mkwezalamba (Director of CBW Malawi, Founder of Dzuka Africa) – Lee Chisale (Director of CBW Malawi, Managing Director of Belle Afrique) – Farzana Varachia (Director of CBW Africa, CEO of Xanopia Women’s Group) – Zaheerah Bham-Ismail (Director of CBW Africa, Speech, Language Therapist and Audiologist)