May 9—Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of Parliament, has asked that all institutional bottlenecks that limit full participation of women in business are removed so that they can reach their full potential.
“We are already behind schedule for the African Growth Opportunity Act (a US government trade preference scheme for selected African countries). I urge monetary institutions, politicians and the business fraternity not to ignore the strength of women,” she told an innovation workshop mostly attended by women. Kadaga said private sector leaders and institutions should put in place programs that boost women’s income, improve livelihoods and nurture their prosperity.
“It takes a lot more than knowledge, resilience and perseverance to feed a family, generate income and stay sane. I challenge NGOs to consume the services (of women enterprises) and goods that are in place without the requirement of an initial capital of UGX500,000. That is too much for petty traders/investors,” she said. The UGX500,000 is equivalent to about $140 at current rates.
Almaz Gebru, the UNDP Country Director for Uganda suggested working together and forming bigger groups would increase women’s clout in business. “There are numerous opportunities, but we realize these are taken by male entrepreneurs. You can put your agricultural produce together to meet a required volume or improve to a desired quality,” she said.
Centenary Bank (CB) managing director, Fabian Kasi said through their SuperWoman services, banking has been made easier and this has attracted more women to open accounts with them. Kasi said, “The Super Woman Program is designed to empower entrepreneurial women in the country with financial literacy, networking opportunities and access to affordable services. It is the only way to financial inclusion and prosperity among women. Empowering women is one way of social and economic transformation in society.”
First started in 2015, the program is now available in the 69 CB branches and 300 ATMs spread across the country to serve more than 1.3 million customers.
The Private Sector Foundation chairman, Patrick Bitature said, “Exploit existing opportunities to train in business and mind your health. Do not fear getting this money, because it is a grant to enable you to brave the obstacles.”