27 November 2012

Uganda: Women Told Not to Depend On Banks for Funding

The first lady, Janet Museveni, has warned women entrepreneurs against entirely depending on foreign banks for funding.

"These foreign banks have little interest in growing the local economy. They are here to make profits in the shortest possible time," she said.

Mrs. Museveni urged the women to stick together if they are to overcome the funding gap, citing a Bangladeshi women's group that rejected funding from the World Bank and broke even as a result of a unification.

The First Lady was speaking at an occasion to mark the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs' Association League (UWEAL) 25 years of existence over the weekend.

UWEAL chairperson Gudula Basaza had earlier said lack of access to financial services is a key hindrance to promising business women in Uganda.

"Banks often require land as collateral, but as a result of land allocation practices that favour men, women cannot put up the collateral," said Basaza.

Women hold only 7% of registered land in Uganda.

Malawian president Joyce Banda, who was the chief guest, lauded President Yoweri Museveni for ensuring an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs to succeed.

Describing Museveni as a "champion of women", she said: "He is the first African president who recognised women. He appointed the first female vice-president in Africa."

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