Businesswomen urged to diversify for growth

Zimbabwean women entrepreneurs have been urged to harness their industriousness and put the country on the international market if they are to revitalise women’s economic empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa.

The chair of the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme (Zimbabwe), Barbara Rwodzi, said the onus rested on women to transform opportunities into reality for the development of their families and communities.

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, Rwodzi, who is chief executive officer of House of BarRue Knitwear, said it was important that female entrepreneurs got support from government to enable them to fully participate in the country’s economic activities.

Said Rwodzi: “At a country level, we should take on the difficult jobs of building infrastructure, rooting out corruption and putting in place statutory instruments that support existing policies.

“We should be very innovative and diversify our business enterprises to substantiate the assertion that our country has the potential to become the fastest growing economy in Africa and the sixth fastest in the world by 2020,” she said.

Rwodzi called for good governance and said that realising Africa’s potential rested on how African leaders promoted regional and international integration.

Said Rwodzi: “Leveraging Africa’s potential requires African leaders across governments, businesses and civil society to address social issues, infrastructural development, economic diversification, skills shortages and greater regional and international integration.”

She urged women to use the African Growth in America initiative and said this was a platform for small-scale businesswomen to transform their enterprises.

Minister of industry and commerce Mike Bimha said the major challenge facing small businesses, especially those initiated by women, was that they remained at micro level.

“The million dollar challenge facing the country is how, as a government, we can translate the country’s political achievements to emancipate women economically,” said Bimha.

“Any effort geared towards poverty alleviation and building a vibrant economy must examine the reality and potential of women in entrepreneurship.”

Bimha said investment was critical for the country’s economic growth and to transform Zimbabwe into a globally competitive economy.

“Only by putting aside our differences and uniting for the good of all will the country overcome the economic challenges and redefine our industrial competitiveness.

“It is critical that we maintain unity of purpose and a shared vision with a high sense of accountability and transparency in the way we do business in government and the private sector.”

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