Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Empowering female enterprise in Kenya

Experts argue that women are an essential yet untapped resource in fostering sustainable development. This advice seldom translates into action – that is until now.

Today, Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki launched a Sh5 billion funding partnership between Equity Bank in Kenya and the UNDP. This Women’s Fund will benefit more than 2,000 women entrepreneurs in the Small and Micro Enterprise sector, traditionally neglected and underfunded.

These funds were allocated in response to a household survey indicating that 61% of household entrepreneurs in Kenya are women. By providing loans to these women, the government hopes to spur community based and women driven economic growth.

To boost the competitiveness of female enterprise and help women identify new markets for their products the UNDP will offer women focused trainings. “The target is to increase the number of businesses owned and managed by women making them globally competitive,” says Elizabeth Lwanga of UNDP.