Given the importance of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in the growth of Africa’s economies, the Graça Machel Trust has focused a significant amount of its resources on supporting better and more robust women’s participation in the business sector.
This week, women’s business associations from over 10 African countries, with a membership in the Network of African Businesswomen (NABW) will gather in Johannesburg under the leadership of the Trust. The network aims at consolidating women’s influence on economic policies and creating more opportunities for women to access finance and markets.
Africa leads the world in women’s participation in businesses yet there are real barriers to this participation translating into real wealth. The dividends of entrepreneurship have been significant to only a few women.
The aim of the Trust’s work is to empower more than a few good women; it is to significantly multiply the numbers of women who can have access to the tools for success.
The Trust’s programme manager for NABW, Tebello Ralebitso says the Trust is convening a dialogue with businesswomen’s associations to agree on the best way to advance women’s access to markets and finance. The meeting will serve as an important opportunity to agree on the principle and guidelines for the relationships among the various associations and with other networks affiliated with the Trust, namely, New Faces New Voices – a network of women in finance, and the Network of Women in Agribusiness.
“We want to build a force of women who can take the driving seat of their country’s economies and change women’s experiences in business,” adds Rabelitso.