27 September 2012

Zambia: 'Financial Inclusion for Women Critical'

FINANCIAL inclusion among women entrepreneurs is critical for achieving inclusive growth and poverty reduction in the country, Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Deputy Governor administration Tukiya Mabula has said.

Many women in Zambia, together with the businesses they run are financially excluded.

Dr Mabula said this was also acknowledged in a 2011 report by the Gender and Development Division on study tour to Tanzania and Rwanda, regarding women's economic empowerment.

She was speaking during the Zambia Federation of Associations for Women in Business (ZAFWIB) two-day national conference in Lusaka yesterday.

Dr Mabula said there was evidence that gender disparities in national development still existed in Zambia and one of the areas of concern was access to finance by women entrepreneurs.

In order to address this situation, Dr Mabula said one of the objectives in the the Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) was to enhance the capacity of women to participate in national development.

"The report further states that due to weak economic position such as lack of collateral required by most financial institutions, most women especially in the rural areas are unable to access investment capital to engage in business and other economic activities as individuals," Dr Mabula said.

She said access to financial services, especially credit and insurance enhanced livelihood opportunities and empowered women and other marginalised groups to take charge of their lives as well as improve their social and economic equity.

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