Implementation of World Bank sh1trillion womens fund starts a year behind schedule

Kibenge announced plans for GROW

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) programm for Uganda has concluded, with policymakers urged to ensure easier conditions for women to access affordable finance.

The program, Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A), was financed to the tune of sh78 billion by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the German Embassy, and the EU, and implemented by the German Development Agency GIZ through Solid Rock Life and Business Services Ltd.

While there is another phase of the project expected to commence next year, the beneficiaries were advised to use what they have gained from the project, to benefit from the available government projects.

Aggrey David Kibenge, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development cited the GROW (Generating Growth Opportunities and Productivity for Women Enterprises) Project, the Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP), and the enterprise financing pillar under the Parish Development Model.

However, Kibenge said the implementation of the 1 trillion-shilling World Bank-funded GROW program is a year behind schedule, but that it will achieve its targets at the end of the five-year period.

Up to 60,000 female-owned enterprises, including 3,000 refugee-owned businesses and 280,000 women entrepreneurs and their employees, will benefit from GROW.

He called on the prospective beneficiaries to use the money diligently because it would be a revolving fund, though it was a grant from the World Bank. Kibenge said that currently, initial work is taking place around the country preparing local government officials for its implementation.

WE4A program

On the closure of the WE4A program in Uganda, the implementers say some of its targets had been exceeded, including the number of jobs created (up to 10,000) over the two-year period.

GIZ Country Director, James Macbeth Forbes, says perhaps it would have been better, had it not been for the outbreak of COVID-19 19 which mainly hit small and micro enterprises.

However, he says the achievements are worth celebrating and show the resilience of Uganda’s small entrepreneurs.

The project’s beneficiaries were identified from different parts of the country and involved training or skilling in productivity, project management, and financial literacy among others. The benefiting sectors included agriculture, which accounted for a quarter of the projects, consulting, fashion, renewable energy, manufacturing, health, ICT, and general trade.

Ronald Kavulu, the program manager at Solid Rock said after the training, the beneficiaries are not left on their own, but at followed up to ensure that they deploy the knowledge and other tools they have acquired.

Alicia Boom, Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy in Kampala hailed the entrepreneurial culture of Ugandan women, who account for 30 percent of the SMEs in the country, compared to Germany’s 23 percent. This is despite the challenges that face the Ugandan entrepreneur, including difficulty in accessing affordable finance, higher literacy levels, and the challenges encountered dealing with state institutions.

Boom says that it was one of the reasons that the project also focused on helping women access markets, adding that it is important that entrepreneurs are equipped with the necessary skills for innovation and financing, among others.



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