Standard Chartered Bank has injected P1million towards the Womenâ€™s Finance House Botswanaâ€™s (WFHB) micro loan book to help women run successful businesses.
Through this partnership the bank has also committed to offer financial literacy workshops to WFHB clients and provide institutional support through their professional expertise and mentoring services to the organisation.
WFHB, which has been in existence for almost 26 years, economically empowers women through the provision of micro loans, basic training and other business support services.
About 9000 business people have benefited from the organisation, through loans and savings.
Speaking at the WFHB’s client and business forum event held in Gaborone yesterday, Head of Corporate Affairs at Stanchart Itumeleng Ramsden, said the partnership is important, as it would empower many women.
“ SMMEs cannot be overlooked as they play a very important role in the economy and create employment.
Skills enhancement is also important for entrepreneurs hence the reason why we offer them financial education as well,” she said.
For her part, the Project Advisor Victoria Masenya said Stanchart came in handy because they had lost donors they heavily relied on since the country obtained its middle-income status.
Masenya said WFHB targets women who are at micro level and are sidelined by the mainstream financial sector termed to be unbankable yet continue to be challenged by lack of access to financial services.
“We are trying to open up access through holistic approach to meet their needs, which range from lack of financial resources to sustain and grow their business, including access to savings where they are able to save their profits,” she said.
Each member of WFHB saves about P5, 00 per day and for a new member they have to wait for six months to qualify for a loan. Their loan ranges from P750, 00 to P20 000,00 which is repaid in installments.
When giving the keynote address, the Minister of Health Dorcas Makgato told the participants that it is important to have a creative business idea that can be competitive even on the regional and international arena.
Makgato also said that organisations like WFHB lessen the load and make it easy for the government as SMME’s contribute immensely to the economic empowerment of women.
She added that since a decade ago, government has contributed P34million towards women empowerment.