Sunday, March 30, 2014

Banks in Zimbabwe Urged to Support women
Minister of Women's Affairs for the Republic of Zimbabwe Oppah Muchinguri.
March 31, 2014
Herald Reporter

Government has urged banks to extend more loans to women entrepreneurs saying the Women’s Development Fund was not sufficiently resourced. Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri said the WDF had received US$750 000 rather than the anticipated US$2,5 million.

Women have difficulties in accessing bank loans as many do not have bankable collateral.

“We appeal to the banking sector to provide special loan windows for women entrepreneurs because the money allocated by Treasury to the fund is not sufficient,” Minister Muchinguri said.

The WDF is a revolving facility to promote economic empowerment of women at grassroots level.

While Government has planned a Women’s Bank, the project has not received any budget allocation this year. The Women’s Affairs Ministry wanted more than US$30 million for 2014 — excluding salaries — but was allocated about US$5 million. Female entrepreneurs exhibiting their products at belated International Women’s Day celebrations last Wednesday said they were facing challenges in accessing capital.

Community-based organisation Cluster Agricultural Development Services representative Ms Angela Muranganwa bemoaned the restricted market for local value added products.

“We work in rural districts like Mutoko, Chigodora and Mutasa, where we are working with more than 7 000 rural women who are into farming and also train them value addition,” she said.

“Sadly, there is no market for products made from drought resistant crops such as sorghum scones, cow pea fritters as well as bread made from finger millet.

“We want to encourage women to make use of locally available products and encourage consumption.”

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