Tuma Adama Gento Kamara delivers keynote address at Wintrade Global Summit in UK

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For the past 25 years, Wintrade Global Women in Business Network has assisted over 25,000 women and is dedicated to supporting, developing, and celebrating women in business across the globe. The summit is a platform for Women Entrepreneurs to drive prosperity through Inter- Continental trade and will hold from the 13th -15th March 2023 at the House of Commons, Lloyds of London, the House of Lloyds and the London Stock Exchange respectively across the UK.

The summit’s theme, “From Ideation to Realization: Delivering Prosperity through Intercontinental Trade,” *aims to connect women globally to decision-makers for opportunities and to celebrate women in leadership. This Three-Day summit is the first in-person event since the start of the COVID pandemic and is dedicated to promoting Womenomics and the role of intercontinental trade to drive economic growth and prosperity.

In her keynote address, Tuma Adama Gento- Kamara noted that her story resonates with the struggle and pain of the African Woman on one hand, and the joy and triumph on the other hand. She said it doe not matter what one is talking about within the context of women on the continent, the story of the African Woman is framed in resilience, ecstasy, beauty, culture, fashion, and spirituality. She therefore underscored the importance of supporting women owned business across the continent of Africa and Sierra Leone in particular.

She pointed out that the Government of Sierra Leone is building the support structures for women to thrive in their field of endeavors. The recently enacted Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act 2022 which now ensures that one in three members of parliament, as well as local council is a woman. She said the law is a monumental advancement for gender equality in Sierra Leone, a country ranked 181 out of 191 countries in the UN Gender Inequality Index. The law enshrines improvements to women’s access to finance, employment opportunities, equal pay, maternity leave, and–critically–political representation. The Act establishes a 30 percent quota for women’s participation in government for both appointed positions, including cabinet, ministeries, ambassadorial roles, and elected positions, such as parliamentary and local council seats.

Tuma reiterated that before the enactment of the law, women represented just 12 percent of parliamentary seats and four out of the 32 cabinet positions. The quota in this Act will go into effect ahead of Sierra Leone’s upcoming presidential, parliamentary, mayoral, and local council elections on June 23, 2023, she said.

As Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Country’s Revenue Authority, Tuma said they have ensured a leap in the representation of Women in the Senior management of that organization; something that was non-existent when we were appointed almost five years ago. She said they are doing this believing that men are very critical in the final analysis of things, so they approved a paternal leave for the men just as it would happen in the case of women.

Mrs. Gento-Kamara was speaking on the importance of supporting women led businesses; something herself and her Husband Mohamed Gento Kamara has been doing for a very long time. On the reasons they do what they do, Mrs. Gento-Kamara said, they are waging war against the deepening economic inequality against women in Sierra Leone.

Quoting a study done by the World Economic Forum, gender inequality is strongly associated with income inequality across time and countries of all income groups. According to her, the study reveals that women are more likely to work in the informal sector, in which earnings are lower, which widens the gender earnings gap and exacerbates income inequality. To bring that into perspective in our context, it requires as little as 20 British Pounds Sterling for that single mother to start petty trading so she can feed and perhaps provide lunch and uniforms for her children. When her Husband and herself finance petty traders, they are helping to close the economic inequality gap thereby reducing gender inequality which we all fight for every day.

Mrs. Gento- Kamara said she came from a Country where opportunities are endless, especially when almost all professions are male dominated. One of the promising spaces for women to thrive and are doing their level best is in Business, she stressed. As an entrepreneur herself, she have supported very promising start-ups since business is an essential part of the economy. “I have always wanted to promote diversity in business”. She said Women entrepreneurs bring unique perspective, experiences and ideas to the table which can lead to innovative solutions and new business opportunities. When we support women owned businesses, we help create a more inclusive and diverse business community.

She continued that Women owned businesses serve as role models for future generations of future entrepreneurs. When young girls see successful entrepreneurs, they are more likely to believe that they can achieve their dreams and start their own businesses, she continued. By supporting women owned businesses, we inspire the next generation.

Supporting Women owned Businesses is an excellent way to support women empowerment. Tuma said that Women Entrepreneurs are often under-represented in the Business world, they face unique challenges such as lack of access to funding and mentorship. By supporting women owned businesses we can help women overcome these challenges and gain the confidence and skills they need to succeed.

Other Speakers include top executives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders from various industries, including finance, technology, healthcare, and education. They share their experiences and offer practical advice on overcoming obstacles and succeeding in the global business arena.

“We are thrilled to host this year’s Women in Business Summit, which has brought together some of the most influential voices in the business world,” said the Founder of Wintrade Global, Dr. Yvonne Thompson CBE. The Conference is expected to end on Wednesday 15th March, 2023.

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