Minister to engage DFIs on funding of women entrepreneurs

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Cape Town – Minister for Women in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu,  says her department will be working with Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to ensure that funding of women projects is adequate.

The Minister said this when briefing the media on Wednesday after she tabled her Budget Vote Speech in Parliament on Tuesday.

She said while the population was dominated by women, they were still excluded from economic participation.

The Women’s Ministry was focused on promoting gender equality and no economy can grow by excluding any part of its people, the Minister said.

“This means that women, who constitute 52% of the population of South Africa, must be incorporated in the economic development plans in order for South Africa to fully develop.

“Amongst others, our department will be working with departments of the economic cluster to review the impact of the existing funding model on women’s empowerment in our country,” she said.

Minister Shabangu said this at the back of a study by Statistics South Africa, titled “Gender series: volume economic empowerment 2001-2014 focusing on gender disparities in economic empowerment”, which showed a need to intensify the fight against poverty and dismantling the feminization of poverty.

“One of the issues if we look at South Africa, we have many DFIs which offer opportunities, which fund various businesses in SA.

“It is neutral, there is no talking on how best to bring women on board, how do you create an environment which can attract more women to access funding when it comes to them as partners in business, when it comes to them as women entrepreneurs in contributing or playing a role in the economy.

“What our country has been doing is each time you raise the issue of women, then they talk about the women’s fund,” she said.

The Minister said ring-fencing funds for women empowerment was not enough as women needed to be in the central to those funds.

She said there was a need for government to work on mechanisms on funding for women.

Development Finance Institutions also needed to look at programmes that promoted inclusion of women.

The institutions also needed to have a programme where women could be assisted to put together proposals or business plans to ensure that they are not turned down without a reason.

She said doing this would go a long way in the country achieving equality and mainstreaming women empowerment and bring them on board to ensure that they play a part in the productive side of the economy.

“Empowerment of the funding of women must be mainstreamed. That is the engagement we are going to have because then it talks about equality, it talks about shifting our means of production in South Africa in a way that it takes us to the centre of the empowerment of women and changing lives of women in making sure that they don’t continue to rely on social grants and that they get skilled,” she said.

The Minister said, meanwhile, that her department would continue to amplify its campaign of 365 days against the abuse of women and children, a campaign it launched last year under the theme “Count me in”, which also invites men to play their part to stop the scourge.

She also paid tribute to the late struggle Stalwart Mme Ruth Mompati following her passing.

“Mme Mompati was a mother to many young girls who swelled the ranks of Umkhonto We Sizwe, she was a trained soldier and was one of our combats who was trained in Russia. She was a professional teacher, a mentor to many of us and a leader of our people.” –