New World Bank Group Studies Celebrate Tanzania’s Success in Promoting Gender Equality, Recommend Further Changes
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.
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