Wanted: access to capital

In Zimbabwe, data available from the Small Enterprises Development Corporation indicates that women apply for loans in areas such as cross boarder trading, general trading, vending, market gardening and poultry rearing. Theresa Dzakata from Shamva said it was difficult for small organisations to access capital from banks and the process is cumbersome for rural women.

“We are disadvantaged because we incur a lot of travelling expenses trying to access loans and capital. We do not have the required collateral for us to get loans such that most of our business ventures flop,” she said.

The director of Zimbabwe Women Poultry and Small Livestock Farmers Teverai Chigogo said there was need to come up with mechanisms that enhance the involvement of women within bodies responsible for formulating policies that affect them. She cited the Zimbabwe Poultry Association as an example of an organisation where women should be involved, considering that the majority of them are engaged in poultry related businesses.

“There is no-one to champion our agenda because the majority of the people sitting on that board are executives who do not understand how some of their resolutions affect the small-scale poultry farmers,” she said. Chigogo urged women to take an active role and champion policy and legislation that affect their economic emancipation.

“Women should do away with the tendency of waiting for others to come and organise them. Let us challenge policy that does not enhance growth of the small to medium enterprise businesses,” she said. According to a publication by the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe entitled: “Beyond the enclave: Towards a pro- poor and Inclusive Development Strategy for Zimbabwe”, the percentage of women getting assistance from government is low.

The report called on government to offer a variety of small to medium enterprises support programmes for women in small to medium scale business ventures which include financial assistance, enterprise culture, advice and assistance, technology and management training.“Government should promote women entrepreneurs and implement strategies and budget allocations necessary to translate women’s lives for the better while removing administrative barriers to investment and to the legalisation of their enterprises,” read the report.

“The government should ensure that women entrepreneurs should be supported to participate in value chains and more should be done to ensure their inclusion in cluster development.”

The Permanent Secretary in the Gender and Economic Development ministry, Sylvia Utete Masango said women should come up with specific initiatives economically to ensure that they achieve set targets and alleviate poverty. “Economically, politically and even socially, it is difficult for women to break through because we are our own enemies,” she said.

“Women should start all their endeavors with the end in mind. That way, we are guaranteed of a positive outcome regardless of the prevailing circumstances,” said Masango.

Post published in: News

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