Engagement and Dialogue Between Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala - Director-General of the World Trade Organization and Women Entrepreneurs in the WeLead Network

Engagement and Dialogue Between Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala - Director-General of the World Trade Organization and Women Entrepreneurs in the WeLead Network

Despite a considerable travel journey, merely about 2 hours after landing, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), had her initial working session with women entrepreneurs in the pioneering WeLead network.


On May 17, 2023, the WeLead Network, in collaboration with the Trade Promotion Agency, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the SheTrades project office in Vietnam, orchestrated an event titled "Empowering Dialogue: Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, WTO Director-General, Meets Vietnamese Women Entrepreneurs" as part of her official visit to Vietnam. The occasion saw the active participation of nearly 50 Vietnamese women entrepreneurs.

Speaking during the meeting, Ms. Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh, Founder and Chairwoman of the WeLead Network, Founding Chairwoman of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN), and Chairwoman of the Global Summit of Women in Vietnam, expressed, "This serves as an invaluable opportunity for Vietnamese women business owners and enterprises led by women to glean insights into WTO's activities, programs, and collaborative plans with Vietnam. We aim to foster and support women's active involvement in international trade. It's also a platform to address concerns unique to Vietnamese women entrepreneurs." She envisions that, "The knowledge shared by the WTO Director-General will prove invaluable for our participants today. Through WeLead, this knowledge will reverberate throughout the Vietnamese women entrepreneurs' community, enhancing their confidence in international trade endeavors." Madam Minh also affirms WeLead's commitment to partnering with the Trade Promotion Agency in implementing WTO's programs that support women entrepreneurs.

Mr. Vu Ba Phu, Director of the Trade Promotion Agency, Ministry of Industry and Trade, underscored, "As Vietnam's premier agency overseeing trade promotion activities, we actively collaborate with international organizations and partners to leverage foreign expertise in bolstering the capabilities of Vietnamese enterprises, associations, and local entities. Notably, we extend our vigorous support to output promotion initiatives, including those geared toward women-led enterprises. Through our collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC), we've established the SheTrades Vietnam Project Office to amplify support for women entrepreneurs and startup ventures seeking to efficaciously participate in the global value chain."

Addressing the gathering, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala introduced the WTO's mission to enhance women's economic empowerment, highlighting the organization's programs and collaborative efforts with Vietnam to boost women entrepreneurs' participation in international trade. She also engaged in discussions with leaders and visited the pioneering comprehensive business – Sao Thai Duong Joint Stock Company – led by women.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala expressed delight and admiration at meeting Vietnamese women entrepreneurs for the fourth time during her visit to Vietnam. With 26 million female workers, Vietnam boasts a high female labor participation rate. Vietnam stands out as an exemplary model among developing nations, celebrating the collaborative endeavors of Vietnamese women entrepreneurs.

The engagement and dialogue session with the WTO Director-General marks another stride by WeLead, with support from the Permanent Mission of Vietnam, the United Nations, WTO, and other international organizations, as well as the Trade Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and other relevant institutions. This initiative aims to offer a platform for women entrepreneurs and businesses led by women to connect, share, and consult with the highest echelons of the World Trade Organization (WTO), thereby enhancing their insights, facilitating access to sustainable business growth opportunities, and contributing to Vietnam's seamless integration into the global marketplace.

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