“Avail loans to rural entreprenuers for development”- Mash Central women,youth

By
Daniel Makamba

MASHONALAND Central’s mainstreaming of the youths and women in all economic sectors is still a challenge due to the non-availability of cash in the banks to empower efforts by these groups in setting up new small and medium enterprises in response to the Zimbabwe open for business mantra.

In its 2018 People’s Manifesto the ruling part Zanu PF said for the next coming five years it will prioritize mainstreaming of women and youth in rural areas so that they may be able to run income generating projects as well as creating employment.

In
its endeavor to fulfill the promise the government went on to set up the
Zimbabwe Women’s Micro-Finance Bank (ZWMFB) to provide loans to women who are
excluded from financial institutions that require immovable property as
collateral, meanwhile recent reports indicate that only 15 women throughout the
whole country have been given loans.

In
an interview with Radio VOP a number of women said lack of currency in the bank
is a serious contributory challenge towards electoral promises fulfillment,
“Here in Mazowe North about 180 women managed to open bank accounts with the
ZWMFB way before the 2018 harmonised elections.

“However,
we understand the bank still has no cash meaning there is no way we are going
to access loans so that we may start small business in our rural areas, this is
the same with the Youth Bank, it has no money, we are open for business but as
of now there is no business to run since we have no capital,” said Mrs Shelter
Goteka.

A
local gender activist, Mrs Clarah Chikerema said opening women for business
will be a significant step towards realizing development in the province, “
recent studies have revealed that women constitutes about 52% of the
population, they work ten times more than men producing more than half the
country’s food, yet they earn only 10% of the country’s income.


Therefore, there is serious need to empower women financially especially from
the grassroots for the government to fully realize the benefits of Zimbabwe
open for business mantra, meanwhile failure to empower women means development
challenges cannot be tackled with success,” she said.

The
Zimbabwe open for business mantra is seen as a challenge in view of isolation
of rural areas based women in the development goal, “grassroots areas like many
parts of this province are usually the ones which benefit last mainly owing to
the system’s partiality towards central towns like Harare, thus rural women end
up tailing behind.

“As
marginalized areas we will never be open for business if we are constantly
isolated from the national agendas for example many youths and women have not
yet opened bank accounts because they lack know-how of doings these things and
eventually they will lag behind development,” said a small holder farmer in
Chiweshe, Mrs Chengetai Marume.