Spotlight: the African Continental Free Trade Area: Opportunities for Canadian women entrepreneurs

Africa is one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world. According to the International Monetary Fund, five of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies are in sub-Saharan Africa. And with the signature, launch and operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), this marked the largest free trade deal since the World Trade Organization, offering unprecedented opportunities in various sectors such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture, natural resources and information and communications etc., as well as offering a gendered focus to women entrepreneurs.

On 9 December 2020 at 10:00 ET we welcomed a top line up of speakers in partnership with the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT-Toronto) and sponsor, Export Development Canada (EDC). 


H. E. Fatima Braoulé Meité, Ambassador of Mali in Canada

Jennifer Cooke, Corporate Lead, Women in Trade, Export Development Canada

Nadia Hasham, Trade Policy Expert, African Trade Policy Centre, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Thandiwe Florence Fadane, Consul General, Consulate General of the Republic of South Africa

Olutoyin Oyelade, Founding Partner/CEO, InVcap Corporation, and Founder, Casa Foundation and Friends of Africa

Susan Namulindwa, Executive Director, Africa Trade Desk

Wendy Desir, Trade Commissioner and Team Lead, CANExport (SMEs).

Moderator: Garreth Bloor, President, The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business

Over the years, the government of Canada has expanded trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa, negotiating Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (FIPAs) to help establish a regulatory framework that encourages trade and investment. To date, 11 FIPAs have been concluded with 11 African countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mali, Madagascar, Senegal and Zambia.

One key focus for Canada’s trade and investment goals for Africa includes opening new markets to increase opportunities for Canadian exports. To support this goal, Canada has 11 Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) offices in sub-Saharan Africa to advance Canada’s commercial interests and help Canadian companies succeed internationally. The TCS is without doubt, Canada’s key to unlocking Canada-Africa business opportunities with a worldwide network of international business development professionals with preferred access to business knowledge and contacts.

Africa’s diversity advantage, untapped potential including 1.5+ billion people with a hugely young population in an aging world and phenomenal success which includes recent business and communities’ resilience to the pandemic, has indicated Africa is open for business. To further signal its openness, the African Union recently launched in June 2020 an official new online portal to help African countries procure supplies and services in their strategy for COVID-19 and beyond. The large-scale continental-wide procurement platform provides an incredible opportunity for Canadian businesses to tap into a wide market of 55 member states.

To explore these opportunities for Canadian women entrepreneurs, OWIT-Toronto and the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business have partnered to spotlight opportunities for business in Africa, debunk the myths of doing business in Africa, provide on-the-ground experience, strategies and resources on how to succeed in the world’s next big growth market. The African marketplace provides an untapped economic potential for Canadian women entrepreneurs in particular, who are yet to make inroads in emerging economies. This session highlighted the importance of Canadian women entrepreneurs gaining ground and accessing different African markets while strengthening trade relations between Canada and Africa.


  • An overview of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
  • Debunking the myths of doing business in Africa.
  • On-the-ground experience of doing business in Africa.
  • Opportunities, strategies and resources for doing business in Africa.
  • Interactive knowledge sharing quizzes to share information about Africa.




Older Post
Newer Post
Close (esc)

Watch Africa Accelerating 2021

Three days of leading speakers and cutting-edge insights. From Heads of State and global CEOs to innovative SMEs, export opportunities and much more, it all took place from 26 to 28 October

View the Latest Highlights

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now