Gender sensitive cluster development to boost women’s economic participation in Africa

Best practices and impactful results from the Ghana cosmetic cluster experiencethe cactus and prickly value chain in Tunisia, as well as the ARAC accreditation programme have been presented at the Inter Africa Trade Fair (IATF) in Cairo, during a UNIDO – African Union event focused on “Gender-sensitive cluster development and enterprise upgrading to boost women´s economic participation in Africa”. 

UNIDO experts highlighted the role of clusters in economic diversification, industrial upgrading and export promotion by reflecting on how local clusters can further contribute to boosting women empowerment. Concrete examples of the impact of the UNIDO intervention in terms of process upgrading, quality enhancement, standards development, product diversification and market access have been presented by project beneficiaries.

Africa is a continent rich in biodiversity and the cosmetics sector in Africa is growing fast, with more and more women owned companies already exporting large amounts of natural ingredients used in cosmetics worldwide. For women led cosmetic companies it is of strategic importance to improve quality, start processing themselves the ingredients and begin to offer a range of finished cosmetic products that comply with international standards. This change is possible within clusters and joint local collaboration among public and private stakeholders becomes an efficient tool towards sustainable value addition. 

Mr. Patrick Gilabert, Director & UNIDO Representative of the Regional Office Hub in Egypt stated in his opening speech: “For UNIDO the promotion of gender-sensitive economic growth is very strategic. We are committed to contributing to the achievement of the SDG goal 5 on gender equality and believe that women's empowerment has a fundamental social and economic value.”

Dr. Amany Asfour, President of the Africa Business Council (AfBC) noted in her opening remarks that “UNIDO is a key partner for the Africa Business Council in the area of private sector development and promoting women entrepreneurship in the continent”.

For more information, please contact Ms. Ebe MUSCHIALLI at: e.muschialli [at]