Govt continues to support women-owned businesses

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Government continues to provide targeted support for female-owned businesses to promote women’s sustainable participation in the economy, said Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Maropene Ramokgopa. 

“The ultimate goal is for women to develop sustainable enterprises that contribute to the country’s gross domestic product, employment, equity and economic transformation to enable women to have equal access to and control over economic resources,” she said. 

The Minister was delivering a keynote address at the 2024 Forbes Woman Africa Awards in Johannesburg on Friday.

She also touched on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s preferential procurement target announced in 2020 to accelerate the empowerment of women, youth and people with disabilities in business. 

“This a strategy mapped out by government to allocate 40% of all procurement spend in the public sector towards businesses owned by women,” Ramokgopa explained. 

“South Africa has set the precedence, now we need the rest of the continent to follow and lead in the capacitating of women-owned SMEs (small and medium enterprises).”


The Minister also used the platform to call on African leaders to take up the fight against gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and protect women, children, and other vulnerable groups.

“Beyond the change-makers in this room, our call for gender equality is more pressing for working class and poor women,” she said. 

Ramokgopa believes that freedom and security remain significant aspects of gender equality. 

Gender equality

The Minister said she was honoured to be joined by women across the world in celebrating International Women’s Day under the ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress’ theme. 

This year marks 47 years since the United Nations (UN) officially recognised 8 March to celebrate the significant strides achieved by women and the broader women’s movement. 

“This year is no exception as we amplify our global call for gender equality. We must be bold in our articulation that the empowerment of women requires the necessary financial, political, social, and institutional commitments from all sectors of society,” she stated.  

This, she said, includes development financing, and creating an enabling legislative environment that supports gender equality. 

She told delegates that the continent carries a rich history of women’s contributions to liberation and development such as Charlotte Maxeke, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Wangari Maathai, Graça Machel and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. 

“In 2024, the women of Africa enjoy hard-earned gains. However, more still needs to be done to accelerate the progress in advancing and protecting fundamental human rights. We dare not lower our voices.” 

Women’s rights

Ramokgopa said South Africa has signed and ratified several treaties and instruments aimed at advancing women’s rights in several multilateral fora including the Maputo Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa of 2003, and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. 

“Although the agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment in South Africa is advanced in comparison with many other countries, we remain committed to ensuring that the rest of Africa increases efforts to achieve gender equality.”

Ramokgopa also paid tribute to the women who have been brave in their pursuit of equality by occupying strategic positions across the continent and diaspora. 

She mentioned the likes of 2019 Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi and those who are flying the African flag high including the Grammy-award winner singer and performer Tyla Seethal, Kenyan comedian Elsa Majimbo, local media personality Bonang Matheba and Nigerian award-winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 

“As the African continent joins in celebrating South Africa’s 30 years of democracy and freedom, may we never trivialise the hard-earned gains of women under this dispensation.” –