Agricultural Business Initiative (aBi) has earmarked shilling 20 billion towards the Economic Enterprise Restart Fund (EERF) which is being implemented by Stanbic Bank Uganda. The fund targets Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) and Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) with an aim to avail liquidity and enhance access to credit. Women form the bigger majority of SACCOs membership in Uganda.
The contribution was announced at a breakfast event organized by Stanbic Bank Uganda as part of the International Women’s Day commemoration on 26th March 2021 at Mestil Hotel, Kampala. The event was held under the theme “Championing gender equality for all” and Stanbic ‘celebrated’ women achievers in the healthcare and agribusiness sectors.
Ms. Jane Nakanwagi, a member of Lwengo Development SACCO shared her experience and noted that “women in rural areas are faced with a challenge of lack of collateral to be able to access credit from financial institutions and sometimes they lose the family property to the bank. She added that since her enrolment under the Stanbic Economic Enterprise Restart Fund, she has gained financial stability.
The aBi Finance Chief Operations Officer, Mona Muguma -Ssebuliba noted that, “aBi is partnering with Stanbic Bank Uganda to provide liquidity and technical assistance to financial institutions for on lending to agribusinesses and small holder farmers, of whom women and youth form a large part.” “This is part of our commitment and contribution to assisting Ugandans survive and build back better in the wake of the very disruptive COVID-19 pandemic.” Ssebuliba added that aBi would also commit Shs 45 billion as guarantee and Shs 2 billion in form of technical assistance and capacity building for Stanbic.
On her part, the Stanbic Bank Uganda Chief Executive, Anne Juuko appreciated the women who pioneered the women emancipation movement in Uganda, adding that one cannot speak of women empowerment without economic empowerment first. She applauded aBi for the partnership, noted that EERF would increase on availability of affordable financing to women, economically empower them and enhance their household income and social development. Juuko pledged to continue with the mantle within the workspaces, community and the country at large.
Speaking at the event, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Uganda, Ms. Rosa Malango re-iterated the need for women economic empowerment and urged participants to repossess their roles in our communities, countries and the continent. She also thanked Stanbic initiative of the Business Incubator which has impacted many women with business development skills.
Other guests included women rights advocates Dr. Miria Matembe and ‘Mama’ Joyce Mpanga, the South African High Commissioner to Uganda, Ms. L Xingwana, former East African Assembly legislator, Hope Kirasho, who all recognized the role of economic empowerment in women transformation.