Some young women entrepreneurs in the country have expressed discontent with the harsh economic environment in the country saying it is retrogressive, and have since asked financial institutions to relax the requisites they attach in as far as access to loans is concerned.
Commonwealth Business Women in Malawi sector leader and an entrepreneur herself, Prisca Chipao, said realizing inclusive economic growth depends on financial institutions aligning regulations that deliberately boost young women’s businesses.
She cited financial institutions’ collateral requirement when issuing loans as one major drawback for young female entrepreneurs.
“Financial institutions should consider partnering with young business minds keen on making a huge mark in their businesses. It is the way to go,” said Chipao in an interview with Nyasa Times.
This, she noted, would give room to young women entrepreneurs to build capacity and have sustainable financing.
Chipao, managing director of Freeway Car Hire, owner of Scillaz Pazazz and is in the process of setting up a legal consultancy firm, observed that in order to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies, women and girls must be empowered economically in the country.
“Gender equality remains a major challenge in Malawi, and some of the factors that continue to contribute towards the failure to achieve gender equality include gender based violence, cultural beliefs and practices, lack of adequate representation of women in decision making positions, patriarchy and women economic challenges among many others,” she said.
According to Chipao, women economic empowerment is central to realizing women’s rights and gender equality, contrary to what most believe, women economic empowerment is not just about helping women start small scale businesses, it is deeper than that.
“True economic empowerment for women in Malawi means giving women equal opportunities to participate in already existing markets and have access to decent work without being asked for sexual favors; allowing women to have control over their time, career and lives and allowing young girls to pursue education without being married off at a young age,” said Chipao.