Why empowering women in business is smart economics

East African women cannot access finance, markets and information as me do

THURSDAY March 9, 2023

The Chairperson of the East African Business Council’s Board, Ms Angelina Ngalula, joined the world on Wednesday March 8, 2023, in celebrating the Women’s Day, observing that innovation and technology will advance gender equality and empower women entrepreneurs. PHOTOS | COURTESY

By The Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania

The East African Business Council (EABC) has highlighted the need for devising programmes for building the capacity of and mentoring women entrepreneurs to sharpen their skills and ability to integrate them with technology in their respective businesses.

Equally important is advocating for policies and programmes that promote gender equality in access to technology, financing, and markets in the region.

The EABC Chairperson, Ms Angelina Ngalula, believes in her International Women’s Day statement that gender equality promotes economic growth and human development.

“With over 31.7M women in Tanzania, for instance, empowering women will be the country’s ‘smart economics’,” says Ms Ngalula, adding:

“We recognise the catalytic role women play towards achievement of transformational economic, environmental, and social changes required for sustainable development in our societies.”

Ms Angelina Ngalula made history mid last year when she became the first woman to chair the East African Business Council’s Board, replacing Mr Nicholas Nesbitt.

She hails this year’s International Women’s Day theme: DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality, saying innovation and technology will go a long way in advancing gender equality and empowering women entrepreneurs for them to grow their businesses and alleviate poverty in societies.

“We’ve to leverage innovation and technology in a bid to create an enabling environment for women in business across East African Community (EAC) partner states,” she says.

Ms Ngalula calls on states, private sector, civil society, development partners and all other stakeholders to harness the power of innovation and technology to empower women in business in the bloc.

“By working together, we can create more inclusive and prosperous societies, where women can fully participate and contribute to the economies, and in so doing, poverty is alleviated,” stresses the EABC Chief, explaining:

“This will create more jobs for women in the economies, expand decent work, broaden women’s access and control over productive resources and develop gender-responsive economic plans.”

East African women entrepreneurs contend with numerous challenges, including limited access to finance, says Ms Ngalula, citing Tanzania where barely 7.8 per cent of women access bank loans as opposed to 22 per cent of men.

Other challenges include access to markets, information, and participation in the formal economies. “Innovation and technology provide opportunities for overcoming these setbacks by providing access to new markets, financing, and information,” she saysΩ

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