East Africa Women Entrepreneurs Say Lack of Cheap Credit and Skills is Hindering their Growth

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East African Community governments have been urged to give more support to women in business to enhance entrepreneurship and ensure equitable and sustainable development.

The appeal was made by chairperson of Women in Business Committee at Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Mary Muthoni during the inaugural Kenya-Rwanda Women Business Forum in Kigali.

The event which brought together over 100 women entrepreneurs from Kenya and Rwanda, was organised by the Private Sector Federation (PSF) of Rwanda and KNCCI-Women in Business Sector..

Muthoni said women entrepreneurs have limited access to affordable credit, and lack skills required to provide innovative products or services. she said the challenges are hindering efforts by women to engage in cross-border trade.

“It is, therefore, important for governments in the East African Community (EAC) bloc to understand these challenges and design policies that will make it easy for more women to do business,” she said.

She added that there is need for training to equip women with skills to help them manage and operate cross-border businesses better. She also called on women to form strong business groups to lobby for their interests at the regional level.

The women discussed challenges they face while doing business in the region, as well as mechanisms on how they can work together and benefit from opportunities presented by the regional market.

The president of the chamber of women and entrepreneurs at PSF Eugenie Mushimiyimana, said it is important for governments to put in place requisite infrastructure to help reduce the cost of doing business.

Kenya’s Ministry of East African Community Affairs permanent secretary, Betty Maina said the Rwanda-Kenya women entrepreneurs’ business platform is a key ingredient that will help foster trade relations between the two countries.

Source: New Times