WOMEN and Youth Affairs Minister Sithembiso Nyoni says the much-awaited Women’s Bank is set to be opened before the end of next month.
Mooted some years ago, the bank which is expected to provide financial support to women and Small and Medium Enterprises has on many occasions missed the opening deadlines with the latest being last November due to various reasons.
In an interview on the sidelines of a women and youth workshop in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Minister Nyoni said the bank would be strategic in addressing women’s financial needs as they have in the past complained about financial marginalisation.
“I want to assure Zimbabwe that as long as the Reserve Bank is on our side, my ministry will be launching a bank with a difference, the Women’s Bank that is going to have a development face and will give assurance that people who bank with it, get their money,” she said.
“We are expecting to launch the bank before the end of February.
“We are only left with getting approval to launch it and inspections from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.”
Minister Nyoni said the financial institution would assist co-operatives for women to financially empower themselves.
She encouraged women to think big in business in order for them to grow as businesspeople.
“As we open the Women’s Bank, we are expecting Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOS) to be a part of it because we want women to grow.
“They should not be afraid to be part of a bigger financial institution because if you remain small you will always be disadvantaged,” said Minister Nyoni.
Despite the country having more than 25 banking institutions, women have often complained of being marginalised when it comes to accessing loans for various projects as the institutions demand collateral security upfront.
Most women in Zimbabwe have assets registered in the names of their spouses, a situation which was blocking their capacity to accessing loans from financial institutions.
It is hoped that once operational, the Women’s Bank will avail funding to the informal sector at concessionary lending rates and less stringent requirements to women.
Prince Sunduzani, Business Reporter – The Chronicle @PrinceNkosy10