Empowering women. . . To construct textile manufacturing centres Minister Monica Mutsvangwa

Sikhulekelani Moyo, [email protected]

MINISTRY of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development with support from African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Treasury and International Labour Organisation (ILO) is set to construct 21 cubicle safe and gender responsive textile manufacturing centres in Bulawayo.

This is part of the ministry’s initiative to ensure that women also benefit from the economic empowerment programmes at the same time promoting growth in the local value chain.

In a statement, Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said the tender processes for the project has already started.

“With funding from AfDB, Treasury and technical support from ILO, the ministry is planning to establish a safe and gender responsive textiles manufacturing centre to accommodate 21 women manufacturers.

“The centre will have 21 cubicles for the manufacturers, toilets and One-Stop Centre for survivors of GBV,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

“The project will create employment for 20 women manufacturers and one trader, reduce GBV and poverty as well as transform livelihoods.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said this will improve income and livelihoods for women.

She also said through the same initiative to empower women, the ministry established amacimbi processing plant for 21 women in Beitbridge in 2019, which benefited 21 women co-operatives.

The projects also got funding from AfDB while ILO provided technical support.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the ministry facilitates training of women in entrepreneurship, value addition, trade related issues such as export development, Comesa Simplified Trade Regime and other technical skills in collaboration with other organisations.

“In 2023, 96 423 women entrepreneurs were trained throughout the provinces in various disciplines such as technical, trade, business and life skills.

The ministry exposes women’s products to markets through their participation at local, regional and international trade fairs, shows and expos.

They also create market linkages for women entrepreneurs by facilitating their participation in Government procurement systems and private sector supply chains.

The ministry also promotes registration and use of online platforms by women enterprises such as the Comesa 50 Million African Women Speak Platform in order for them to access information, markets, partners and other services.

“In 2023, 10 078 women were facilitated to expose their products at fairs, shows and exhibitions while over 17 000 were registered on the Comesa online platform and are using the platform to access business information, markets and training.

“The ministry is engaging the private sector and Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz) for purposes of promoting participation of women entrepreneurs in public procurement and in private sector or corporates’ supply chains.

“Praz is in the process of developing Affirmative Procurement Guidelines to promote the participation of women and the marginalised groups in public procurement,” said Sen Mutsvangwa.

“Examples of affirmative action are allocation of a quota for women in public procurement and over 100 women entrepreneurs have been linked to large corporations for purposes of supplying them with goods and services.”

Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa said the framework to guide implementation of women economic empowerment programmes is being reviewed.

She said the draft report of the review has been finalised and the report will be validated this year.

President Mnangagwa’s administration has prioritised women empowerment programmes as evidenced by such initiatives as the establishment of the Zimbabwe Women Micro-Finance Bank.

Women have also been appointed in various positions of authority as part of a cocktail of measures to empower them.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), a vehicle for the achievement of Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030, recognises gender equality and the participation of women as an important factor in enhancing inclusive economic growth. – @SikhulekeleaniM1.

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