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I Meeting of ECOWAS Women’s Business Associations

The Island Council of Fuerteventura leads the Project called AFRIMAC “PROJECT FOR THE BUSINESS EXCHANGE IN MATTERS OF HIGH ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT BETWEEN THE CANARY ISLANDS AND WEST AFRICA” which is financed by the Operational Programme of Territorial Cooperation Interreg V-A MAC 2014-2020. AFRIMAC seeks to promote the internationalization of companies in the cooperation space in areas of high added value. The aim is to improve the competitive potential and entrepreneurship in the production of the cooperation area. Thus, among other actions, a pilot Project for the empowerment of women in the business environment is being set up.

Within the framework of these initiatives, the “I Meeting of ECOWAS Women’s Business Associations” was designed with the intention of strengthening these networks, consolidating them and giving a new momentum to increase the links of collaboration between the Canary Islands and the African continent.

On the one hand, it is proposed to act in specific sectors with high added value such as water and renewable energies. Thus, actions have been taken to increase the knowledge of these sectors and encourage business cooperation. Where it is worth highlighting in this point the celebration, in November of last year, of Africagua: an international meeting focused on water and renewable energies. A forum that brings together the public and private sector to seek and develop opportunities in West African countries, with the organization of the Canary Islands Government, the Island Council of Fuerteventura, Casa África and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Fuerteventura. Intervening institutional and business representatives from Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde, Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, Togo, Ghana, Nigeria, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Portugal, France, Holland and Norway, as well as organizations and institutions such as the World Bank , Moroccan Solar Energy Agency (Masen), Alliance for the Rural Electrification of Brussels (ARE), Agency for the Promotion of Universal Access to Services (Apaus), African Alliance of Renewable Energies, and the Unit for Preparation and Development of Projects of Infrastructures (PPDU) of the Economic Community of States.

On the other hand, in order to increase commercial exchanges at an international level, work networks have been set up based on a technological platform that serves as a meeting point between the needs generated in African countries and the search for suppliers and even financing for them.

This multi-language platform of cooperation and development for West Africa offers a solution for the achievement of projects in a collaborative way where the supply and demand of the different countries are combined, allowing even the search for financing for them. Afrimac is creating specific websites for each country in the cooperation zone, directly connected to the communications platform and resource management. At present, this platform already has assembled projects with high chances of success. And in a transversal way it is intended to improve the competitive potential and entrepreneurship in the productive fabric of the cooperation space. Thus, actions have been erected that promote the improvement of human capital and entrepreneurship through a pilot project to empower women in the business world. This pilot project took place during the months of September and November between Senegal and Fuerteventura with the exchange of 30 participants who had the opportunity to improve their training and skills in digital skills, professional growth and personal enrichment through training and linguistic practice in English on the following concepts:

  • Technological and social innovation.
  • Digital entrepreneurship.
  • Digital marketing.
  • Leadership and personal development.
  • International financing.
  • Programming and robotics.
  • In addition to multicultural meetings and institutional visits, to companies and centers of interest and to the AFRICAGUA International Event.

AFRIMAC was presented by the Island Council of Fuerteventura and selected in the “First Call for the Operational Program of Territorial Cooperation INTERREG V-A Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands (MAC) 2014-2020” for the financial contribution of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It has a total budget of 529,408.53 euros, where 85% is financed by the Feder.

The Operational Program of Territorial Cooperation Madeira-Azores-Canarias (MAC) 2014-2020 is the main instrument available to the ultra peripheral regions of Spain and Portugal to offer an effective response to the common challenges they face in terms of innovation , competitiveness, internationalization and sustainable development. A new Afrimac 2 project has already been presented for the entrepreneurial, technological, entrepreneurial and innovative exchange in matters of high economic impact between the Canary Islands and West Africa, to the second call of the Operational Program of Territorial Cooperation INTERREG VA Madeira-Azores-Canarias (MAC) 2014-2020 where, in addition to the Island Council of Fuerteventura as leader, the participation of the Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Canary Islands Government, the Canary Islands Equality Institute and the Canaria Radio Foundation Ecca. In addition to partners from third countries, the Agence pour l’Economie et la Maitrise de l’Energie (AEME) of Senegal, the Ministry of Industry and Energy of Cape Verde, the Ministry of Education of Cape Verde and the Association of lutte contre the pauvreté of Mauritania.

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