Celebrating Graduates of Women’s Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy Training Programme


25 April 2024, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Division for Prosperity, and with the generous support of the Government of Canada, commemorated the graduation of over 2,000 women from the Advancing Gender Equality and Women Empowerment 2023 Online Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy Training Programme on 11 April 2024. The virtual event was attended by 500 graduates from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

UNITAR and UNDP conducted a Training Needs Assessment between June and December 2021; the assessment was a combination of desk research and surveys that collected responses from 713 women in 35 African countries, training and capacity-building institutions, and interviews with REC Gender teams. Through this assessment, UNITAR identified the learning gaps among women entrepreneurs, their preferred learning approaches, and significant obstacles that would deter women entrepreneurs from taking on and completing training programmes. Drawing from these findings, UNITAR curated content and additional learning methods, including peer-to-peer discussion forums, live webinars, and mentorship sessions to help women entrepreneurs across Africa acquire requisite skills for sustainable business growth and obtaining funding for their businesses.

In June 2023, an open call for applications was issued, drawing an impressive response of over 5,000 applications from women entrepreneurs in ECCAS, ECOWAS, IGAD, and SADC. Those selected were accepted as part of the online entrepreneurship and financial literacy programme for women, wherein they engaged in online self-paced learning on the EdApp mobile platform and participated in webinars and mentorship sessions led by regional experts. Covering essential topics such as access to finance, digital marketing, leadership, and technology in enterprise growth, the programme was designed to empower women on their entrepreneurial journey.

Susan Akpomera, a graduate from Benin City, Nigeria, shared her experience:

“I learned networking, how to take risks, and how to work effectively with my team. I want to thank the United Nations for their help in teaching us to be resourceful, to scale our businesses, and to help us learn to be better entrepreneurs. This has exposed me and helped me believe in my work in the health sector.”

Mattias Naab, Director of the Regional Service Center for Africa at UNDP, praised the graduates for their efforts:

“I congratulate every woman entrepreneur graduating today for their hard work and dedication. Your perseverance in navigating through online learning modules, participating in webinars, and receiving mentorship on financial literacy exemplifies your strong commitment to empowering yourselves and expanding your enterprises.” 

Chisa Mikami, Head of UNITAR Hiroshima Office, commended the graduates for their community leadership:

“We are delighted to learn that you have already been sharing the lessons you have learned with fellow women in your communities through various projects. Indeed, you are a true testament to the saying that when one woman is empowered, an entire community is empowered in this process.”

The Government of Canada highlighted the importance of taking on this initiative with UNDP and UNITAR. They noted that financial literacy skills are an additional toolset for the over 2,000 women entrepreneurs, equipping them with essential knowledge and tools for managing their finances, making informed decisions, building wealth, creating jobs, and contributing to economic growth.

This graduation marks a significant milestone, particularly in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which offers unprecedented opportunities for increased trade and commerce. Women entrepreneurs can participate and greatly benefit from this opportunity, using their newly acquired skills to innovate, trade, and create impact within the AfCFTA framework.

For media inquiries and further information, please contact housam.silim@undp.org or gis@unitar.org.

About UNDP

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations. In 2022, UNITAR trained over 395,000 learners around the world to support their actions for a better future. UNITAR has a global presence, with offices in Geneva, Hiroshima, New York and Bonn and networks around the world.

UNITAR Division for Prosperity offers world-class learning and knowledge-sharing services to present and future change-makers from around the world. Through our innovative training and learning opportunities – built on robust adult learning principles – we seek to promote sustainable, inclusive and just economic development and catalyse the creation of decent employment opportunities for all.

UNITAR Division for Prosperity supports youth and women in particular to address growing inequalities. We work in solidarity with diverse partners at the local, regional and global levels to propel the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals and achieve an inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world.

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