Colombian Vice President Francia Márquez has spearheaded an initiative to support women-owned business in the nation that want to export products to Africa.
Colombian Vice President Francia Márquez speaks during the Kenyan delegation’s trip to Colombia. (Credit MinCIT)
Called “Ella Exporta Africa” (She Exports Africa), the program opened for registration on October 11 and will provide consulting, technical assistance, and other complementary services to the 30 companies that are expected to be selected to participate.
Marquez, the first Afro-Colombian to hold the office, traveled to Africa on a trade mission in May to push for greater cooperation between the two regions and established the framework of this program during the trip.
Last month, Kenya reciprocated Marquez’s earlier delegation to the nation by sending their economic officials to Colombia, where they met with counterparts in Bogotá and travelled to see the nation’s coffee-growing region in Caldas and Antioquia.
“We have established a dialogue and a bilateral relationship with Kenya and a multilateral relationship with the African continent that must be strengthened,” said Márquez in public comments. “Colombia has set out to be a world power of life. Our government is betting on it, and that necessarily means having trade relations. But we have to think about new trade rules in collaboration where we can see each other as equals, where we all win: Kenya wins and Colombia wins, Africa wins and Latin America wins.”
Ella Exporta Africa will focus on facilitating exports to Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa, although the right opportunities may be pursued with other countries as well.
Colombian exports totaled just $1 million USD in 2022, according to the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) and the majority came from the mining industry. Other sectors totaled $365 million USD with the main exports — led by livestock, beef, sugar, and coffee — going to Egypt, Ivory Coast, Morocco, South Africa, and Nigeria.
The vice president gained support for the initiative from the national trade promotion agency ProColombia and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism (MinCIT).
“We seek to achieve sustainable development, with productive transformation, the positioning of Colombia and most importantly, the development of entrepreneurial women in the regions and territories of the country,” explained Carmen Caballero, president of ProColombia.