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Panel Session: Potential Contributions of African Diasporas to Women's Economic Opportunities with the ICT - enabled Businesses

May 20, 2002

ICT-enabled jobs include offshore services such as call centers. These jobs help women increase their income using skills they already have or with basic training. Some of the most innovative e-commerce initiatives come from tapping the population of diasporas as we see examples in Peru and Ethiopia. Looking at these successful models, the panelists discussed what diasporas' global networks could contribute to women's economic empowerment.

Topics included:

  • The significance of the UNIFEM's* strategic partnerships with African IT entrepreneurs in the Diaspora,
  • Cases of the Kampala call center and bookkeeping data entry service,
  • The Role of the African Diaspora in e-commerce and

  • The Diaspora Institute concept

*The United Nations Development Fund for Women. UNIFEM works for gender equality and female empowerment through the UN.


Nagy Hanna, Lead Corporate Strategist, Operations Evaluation, the World Bank.

Dr. Laketch Dirasse, the Chief of UNIFEM Africa Section, New York. Social and Urban Anthropologist with over 25 years of experience in development, research consultancy, and training/teaching in international agencies, governmental and NGOS, and academic institutions.

Ms. Rebecca Enonchong, CEO and Founder of Application Technologies, Inc., Maryland. The World Economic Forum recently selected Ms. Enonchong as one of the "100 New Global Leaders for Tomorrow."

Mr. Jacques Rostenne, President, PERWIT International, Ottawa, Canada. Mr. Rostenne, is one of the earliest and most ardent believers that Net-based, export-oriented, Teleservices are the single greatest business opportunity which has presented itself to African entrepreneurs in this generation. By setting up what is believed to be the first 100% export-oriented Africa-based VOIP call center, as well as other online and offline E-business Teleservices, he is attempting to create a new image of Africa as a world class, exporter of Net-based, value added services.

Dr. Natalie Hahn, Senior Private Sector Advisor, United Nations Fund for International Partnerships, New York. Her 32 years of services to the UN included among others, Senior Advisor for Women's Programmes in the Office of the President for IFAD; and the first woman scientist with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria.


Dr. Nancy Hafkin, Consultant. Former Coordinator of the Africa Information Society Initiative, and former Chief of PADIS, ECA. Dr. Hafkin has more than 30 years of experience on African development issues, at the UNECA and previously as an academic in the United States, with special interest in IT and development.

Updated: 6/8/04

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Presentation Materials 05/20/02