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SAITEX – EFSA’s Sessions

EFSA held four extraordinarily successful sessions at the South African Industry and Trade Exhibition on 19-221 June, including a fascinating session by Sanele Simmons of the Mall for Women on how women can leverage ecommerce as a career. Her presentation is available from me ([email protected]). Other presenters included Craig Chamberlain of Made in Africa on how to prepare for B2B ecommerce, Lauretta Ngakane with an introduction to ecommerce, and Lee Chana and myself on the opportunities for ecommerce in the AfCFTA and the significant role of trust. SAITEX attracted more than 4,500 visitors and 500+ stands

Thinking about Sanele’s presentation, a perennial problem particularly for women is funding. It is therefore sad to note that the African venture capital sector is still very much a “man’s world”. The VC firm TLcom Capital has cooperated in a series of case studies and podcasts, produced by Disrupt Africa, and commissioned by Boost Africa Technical Assistance Facility, which is financed by the European Union under EDF Thematic Blending and Cotonou Investment Facility. The podcasts show that the quality of investments and ability to make a greater impact suffer because of not involving women in VC funding.  However, this is not just an African issue, female fund managers are very much in the minority worldwide. In the US, only 9% of decision-makers in the VC space are women. In Africa, no definitive numbers are yet available, but female fund managers are hard to come by – a big mistake for the VC world, as data clearly demonstrates a direct link between gender diversity in teams and increased profitability. The Podcasts are called ‘The Diversity dividend: Female fund managers in Africa’.

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