Mthabisi Tshuma in Gwanda
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has availed more than $350 million in loans towards capacitation of entrepreneurs across the country.
This comes as the apex bank and the new Government move to boost productivity and revive the economy through increased export earnings and job creation. Officiating at the opening ceremony of the Women Entrepreneurship Development Trust (WEDT) training programme conducted by Homelink Finance Services in partnership with the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) here yesterday, RBZ Deputy Governor, Dr Jesimeni Chipika, said the loan facilities were meant to meet business financing needs of previously marginalised groups.
She said the funding was being availed to every Zimbabwean under the 11 sectors as part of fostering inclusivity in the economy.
“I am also pleased to say that in addition to the MSMEs funding opportunities being offered by Homelink, there are other facilities, which the Reserve Bank has put in place to cater for the business financing needs of previously marginalised groups,” said Dr Chipika.
She said the RBZ was aware of the tough business conditions facing the country hence the move to assist budding entrepreneurs with loans.
“The loan facilities amount to $381,51 million,” said Dr Chipika. Among these are; the Women Empowerment Fund of $15 million, business linkage facility of $10 million, microfinance revolving facility of $10 million, tourism support facility of $15 million, gold support facility of $150 million, cross border facility of $15 million, tobacco export finance facility of $70 million, horticulture facility of $10 million, youth empowerment fund of 10 million, soya beans facility of $21,51 million and $5 million for persons with disability.
“Access to affordable financial services helps MSMEs to generate income, manage irregular cash flows, invest in opportunities and strengthen resilience to both internal and external shocks,” she said.
Dr Chipika said the Homelink training programme was critical in capacitating women entrepreneurs in the country.
“I am convinced that women entrepreneurs can drive economic growth. It is therefore imperative for stakeholders including Government, civil society and capacity building organisations to consolidate their efforts to improve women’s opportunities and outcomes in global value chains and this is what this workshop is about,” she said.
The Deputy Governor commended the two institutions for the programme that will empower every woman and is equipped for the development of the country.
In an interview on the sidelines of the launch, HIT Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Maxwell Chanakira said the weeklong workshop was driven by the need for economic growth through women. The WEDT programme is the second after the first one held in Harare in September 2017. The programme will reach every district of Matabeleland South province and other provinces nationwide. About 100 female college graduates, business women and people living with disabilities attended the first session yesterday. The workshop ends on Saturday.