SheTrades in the IORA region

The “Economic Empowerment of Women in the Indian Ocean Rim
Association (IORA) Countries” project (SheTrades in the IORA region)

was funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Project timeline: January 2016 – June 2018 Total project fund: USD 1,130,000.

The SheTrades in the IORA region was implemented by the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) SheTrades initiative in three IORA member countries, Indonesia, Kenya and Sri Lanka. The project focused on two sectors: tourism and the information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) sectors. In Sri Lanka, the project also covered tourism-related products since the sector involves a relatively high number of Sri Lankan women.

The following figure showcases the project outcome and outputs. There are three outputs in total, with each of these representing a different target group: women owned businesses (WoBs), business support organizations (BSOs), as well as buyers and investors. The three outputs contribute to the outcome, i.e. businesswomen in developing countries in the IORA region increasing their participation in international trade.


Figure 1: Outcome and Outputs of the SheTrades in the IORA region project


Project Alignment to SDGs and IORA Objectives

The project contributed to both United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and IORA objectives. Through the objective of promoting “the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs through international trade”, the IORA region programme contributed to SDG 5 (gender equality and the empowerment of women), and SDG 8 (sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth).

The project also responded to the IORA Declaration on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment, the latter which is committed to the empowerment of women and girls as a central means of realizing inclusive and sustainable economic growth of IORA Members States. The IORA Secretariat and its member states emphasized the need to actively pursue women’s empowerment in the tourism sector by seeking assistance from dialogue partners, other partners including ITC and its SheTrades initiative, as well as DFAT, in order to achieve sustainable and inclusive tourism in more IORA member states.

The project strove to ensure that its activities were aligned to the IORA Action Plan on women’s economic empowerment (see below).

Figure 2:  The IORA Action Plan

Through the project, the SheTrades initiative of ITC (ITC SheTrades) has become one of key partners of the IORA Secratariat in the area of women’s economic empowerment. ITC SheTrades has also actively participated in the IORA activities related to women’s economic empowerment, such as the IORA Ministerial Conference on women’s economic empowerment.

Key Results Highlights


Figure 3: Key results highlights

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