Women in informal economy must be able to access finance too

Director of Women Entrepreneurship Development Department of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Habiba Sumani, has announced that a key outcome of the proposed Ghana Women Entrepreneurship Summit will be the creation of an SME fund for businesses in the informal sector, and this is particularly for women since they dominate the sector.

The fund, we are told, will support women businesses to build their capacity and facilitate their activities through participation in trade fairs. This is indeed good news, since women entrepreneurs dominate the informal sector and are confronted with issues such as a lack of access to funds as well as the high cost of credit to SMEs.

According to Madam Habiba Sumani, money can be sourced from outside sources – in particular from development partners which support SME financing and other multilateral institutions that support entrepreneurship.

However, in the absence of credible data on women entrepreneurs, the fund can be accessed to institute research and scientific papers which inform policy and policy decisions so that this segment of the informal economy can be assisted to empower their activities better.

In spite of the above, we know the role women play in the informal sector – but their inability to access funds to expand their businesses is certainly a drawback.

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Therefore, ahead of the summit, the NBSSI held consultations and discussions on how women can access finance as well as markets, so that they are able to earn more profit and be more competitive. Traditionally, women – apart from their business activities – are home-keepers and instrumental in the upkeep of the home; hence, where there is a financial need to be filled, they are often the ones to bear the cost since they see it as a responsibility to cater for needs in the home.

Thus, their finances are often eaten up fulfilling these roles; which is why it’s imperative that these women can access financing, expand activities and make more profit. The summit is a welcome initiative that is specifically addressing a critical societal need, and since women form an integral part of our society it is important that their welfare is secured.

Women have been marginalised for far too long and need to be brought to par with their male counterparts in several instances so that national development can be more inclusive.

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