Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), Chief Executive Officer Thabo Thamane has decried the low numbers of women in who acquire loans from CEDA. Giving a key note speech at the opening ceremony of the 15th Women’s Exposition, Thamane said the ratio of men to women acquiring loans through CEDA was 8:2. “With regards to our loans portfolio, deliberate effort has to be made to balance the current scenario where the ratio of male: women ownership sits at 8:2,”Thamane said emphasizing the need to capacitate women in the SMME sector,
Thamane said some husbands have been fingered as obstacles to women getting loans from financial service providers, CEDA included. “The constraints women face are those of any small business person, but they are intensified by their additional home and child care responsibilities as well as socio-cultural constraints which limit their ability to access credit and enter into gainful business contracts. This factor seriously impedes the business growth of this vibrant constituency,” he said.
Thamane gave an example of one woman had to turn down an CEDA approved loan because her husband was against her the move. According to Thamane research has shown that women are better candidates for loan funding as they are better at honoring loan contracts.
He further called on financial institutions to improve their efficiency in terms of reduction of loan processing time and cost of borrowing (interest rate), “This will go a long way in improving women’s access to credit and promoting growth; thereby stimulating economic diversification and employment creation opportunities.”
The annual women expo was held under the theme ‘Empowering Women Entrepreneurs: Prosperity for All’, recognising business women in Botswana who continue to change their economic status and their communities positively through their businesses. The expo is one of the strategies adopted by the Gender Affairs department in the Ministry of Labour and Home affairs that aims to address economic empowerment of women. The next Women’s exposition will be held in September from the 22nd to the 27th in Francistown for business women based in the north of Botswana.