By Jovita Mirembe
Access to finances is one of the barriers that hinder women from prospering effectively in agri-business, Paul Nuwagaba, the Access to Finance Specialist in the Generating Growth Opportunities for Women (GROW) project at the Private Sector Foundation (PSFU) has said.
Nuwagaba says that women contribute 88% of the agricultural labour force an activity that contributes 76% of Uganda’s economy.
He said that in this line, PSFU and the Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development (MGLSD) with support from the World Bank (WB) are implementing the GROW project whose objective is to increase access to entrepreneurial services that enable female entrepreneurs to grow their enterprises.
Nuwagaba says that although agri-business takes the lead where the biggest number of women are engaged, the project will also target women in textile, leather products, health, hotel and restaurant, education and trade businesses.
“The project which will target 60,000 female individual-owned enterprises and 280,000 women nationwide will be in all the 135 districts and 11 cities in the country including host and refugee communities,” Nuwagaba said.
He said this while meeting representatives from Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisation (SACCOs) and Micro Finance institution (MFIS) who will partner with PSFU to disburse the funds to the women beneficiaries, at Royal Suits Hotel on October 18.
Esther Sempiira, the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at PSFU said that the minimum eligibility requirements for submitting an expression of interest for SACCOs requires at least five years of business in the financial sector in Uganda as a licensed Tier 4 institution, a portfolio size of at least sh4b and at least 10,000 clients.
She said that those from MFIs who are willing to apply should also have been in business for at least five years in the financial sector in Uganda as a licensed Tier 4 institution and with a portfolio size of at least sh20b, 20,000 clients and at least 10 branches in the country.
Sempiira, however, added that if an individual SACCO doesn’t meet the portfolio size and client number requirement, joint expressions of interest are encouraged as long as all other technical and geographical requirements have been met by the parties to the expression of interest.
Rita Nakitende, a representative of Tukole Women’s SACCO asked PSFU to reduce the portfolio size required because the biggest number of SACCOs cannot meet that requirement, and even if they make a joint expression of interest, they still cannot meet it.
Over 20 participants attended the meeting.
PHOTO CAPTION: Some of the participants who attended the workshop. Photo by Jovita Mirembe