Submitted by International Finance Corporation
DAR ES SALAAM - August 15, 2007 - Two new World Bank Group studies commissioned by Tanzania's Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Marketing, commend the government for progress in addressing gender inequalities in policy and legislation and for recognizing the economic contributions of women. They also suggest that Tanzania could at least gain a percentage point of growth by removing obstacles to women's entrepreneurship.
The reports, Gender and Economic Growth Assessment and Voices of Women Entrepreneurs in Tanzania, are part of a regional program led by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. The program includes policy analysis, lines of credit to commercial banks to support women's programs, and practical training for women entrepreneurs. IFC has carried out similar studies in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda.
Stergomena Tax, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Marketing, said, "Gender inequality is an economic issue. Addressing it could have significant benefits not only for women, but for the Tanzanian society."
Gender and Economic Growth Assessment in Tanzania underscores the importance of addressing legislative issues and cultural norms. Voices of Women Entrepreneurs in Tanzania is a complementary advocacy tool, based on a series of interviews with women business owners across the country. The two reports are a result of extensive consultations with public and private sector stakeholders. Recommendations include strengthening women's access to land, putting in place lines of credit for on-lending to women entrepreneurs, and facilitating women's access to international markets.
Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Senior Manager, noted, "While Tanzania fares better in gender equality than some neighboring countries, our research indicates that further reforms in the investment climate are likely to have especially significant benefits for female-owned businesses."
Amanda Ellis, Head of IFC's gender program, which led the study, commended the Tanzanian government for its efforts to empower women's economic well-being, urging it to ensure the recommendations are acted upon for the benefit of women, as well as men.
Positive change is underway in Tanzania. With access to finance identified as the key challenge facing women, IFC has collaborated with EXIM Bank to put in place a $5 million line of credit for on-lending to women entrepreneurs. The reports also found a need for practical training for women entrepreneurs who seek export opportunities, and work is underway in this area. IFC has hosted several workshops for women on accessing international trade opportunities in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
The studies are available on IFC's Web site at: http://www.ifc.org/Gender
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. IFC's vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY06, IFC committed $8.3 billion, including syndications, to 284 investments in 66 developing countries. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org.
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services.
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