Words of wisdom: “We don’t need other people to donate to us. I am here. I am working. I am capable to establish what we need in my country along with other women. You just need to be willing to work!”

Nigest Haile, Founder & Executive Director, Center for African Women Economic Empowerment (CAWEE)
Nigest is an activist in the promotion of women entrepreneurs, with a particular focus on women exporters, both existing and potential/emerging exporters. She has 23 years of experience working in the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry, at different capacities, where in the last 13 years of her position as Head of the Women’s Affairs Department in the Ministry, she was able to work on proposing policy ideas and recommendations for the creation of a conducive and women entrepreneurs friendly business environment.

In 2004, she founded the Center for African Women Economic Empowerment (CAWEE), the only NGO working in the country, providing capacity building support services targeting women exporters.

In conducting different kinds of action oriented research, focusing on women in business, Nigest is actively involved, and recently was able to publish a book compiling the findings of challenges affecting women in business.

Nigest received award from the Department of State, United States of America, in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the development of women-led businesses.
Nigest is a member of the of the Spanish-African Women Network, member of the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa) Business Council, one of the promoters and founders of the first women’s bank of Ethiopia named as “ENAT Bank”, (Under Establishment), board member of FEMCOM (Federation of Women Entrepreneurs of COMESA) and AWEP (African Women Entrepreneurs Program) Ambassador to Ethiopia, an initiative of H. E. Hilary Clinton, that started in 2010.


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