SADC economic structures do not benefit SMEs: Githuku-Shongwe

14 Aug 2019 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 14 AUG (NAMPA) - The economic structures of Southern African Development Community countries are skewed towards enriching and growing upper class businesses, excluding small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
This was the view of United Nations Women Representative Anne Githuku-Shongwe at the opening of a stakeholder conference on supporting women micro-entrepreneurs to improve their social-economic welfare and contribute to national objectives, which commenced here on Wednesday.
The conference is organised by the Acceleration of Women-Owned Micro-Enterprises (AWOME) programme which was implemented in Namibia for a period of three years from 2017. It strives to build the capacity of women micro-entrepreneurs through business and life skills training, as well as strengthen the capacity of women in business associations.
Githuku-Shongwe said the economic structure works in such a manner that investments move towards the growth of bigger organisations and create less jobs, neglecting SMEs who are able to employ more.
“If 100 000 women SMEs employ one person each, the (economic) transformation will be significant and through this we can really change the economy,” she stressed.
She therefore called on Namibia and South Africa to educate and train more women micro-entrepreneurs who live in remote and secluded areas of their countries.
“Botswana has made great strides to go to women who live the furthest (from the cities) by boat, bus or taxi and therefore, I call on Namibia and South Africa to do the same,” Githuku-Shongwe said.
Speaking at the same event, Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Executive Director, Wilhencia Uiras said 290 female entrepreneurs have been trained in the Erongo and Khomas Regions since the programme’s implementation in 2018.
She said AWOME helps to instil confidence in women to do business and allows them to have the knowledge to make it sustainable.
The programme further addresses the need to include women micro-entrepreneurs who miss out on conventional business support programmes by training them in areas of marketing, costing, recordkeeping, planning, productivity, as well as buying and stock control.
The conference, which drew delegates from Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, ends Thursday.