MASVINGO – The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has called on women particularly those in the rural areas to come forward and apply for collateral security free loans.
The loans are applied for under a facility called Financial Inclusion Strategy 2 which came into being in 2016 after a research established that women are lagging behind in terms of grabbing business opportunities that are available. Some 68% of women have no formal savings and they rely on saving clubs called mukando for raising money for business, noted the research.
Collateral security is waived by the banks because RBZ provides the guarantee.
The call was made by RBZ Senior Bank Examiner David Zahwe when he addressed the National Gender Forum Conference organised by the Zimbabwe Gender Commission in Masvingo last week.
Zahwe said one of the reasons why women don’t match their male counterparts in business entrepreneurship is that they don’t have collateral security required by banks for one to access loans. Women also have little financial literacy, said Zahwe.
“The Bank has come up with a credit guarantee scheme that allows women to access loans without producing collateral security as RBZ will provide the guarantee. The Bank is also doing digital financial literacy campaigns while working with the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises to ensure formalization of businesses to allow access of loans,” said Zahwe.
He called on women to make use of the facility to form groups then call RBZ to teach them on how to write business plans and make proper financial statements.
Zahwe said the Financial Inclusion Strategy 1 was launched in 2016 and was a 5-year-programme which ended in 2021 paving way for the second phase which will end in 2026.
The research established that 68% of women do not have formal savings accounts while 73% do not have insurance policies and 66% do not borrow from banks which makes them marginalized in terms of accessing loans to start businesses.
He said according to the recent Zimstats findings, 52% of the nation’s population are women and 60% of the Gross Domestic Product comes from small and medium enterprises and women own 60% of the SMEs which means they are very significant and their inclusion is key to national development.
The National Gender Forum is an annual event organised by the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to identify challenges and opportunities for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.