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DFCU, Supported by IFC, Launches Lending and Training Program for Women Entrepreneurs


In Washington, D.C.
Lucie Giraud

International Finance Corporation

Phone:  +1 (202) 458-4662

E-mail:  
lgiraud@ifc.org


Kampala, Uganda, February 27, 2007 – With help from IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, the dfcu Group launched today its Women in Business program for Ugandan women entrepreneurs, whereby dfcu will extend financing to women entrepreneurs coupled with business skills training.  IFC’s assistance will be through its Gender Entrepreneurship Markets initiative.

In October 2006, IFC provided dfcu with a $6 million loan, $2 million of which was earmarked for the Women in Business program.  By combining access to finance and professional training, IFC and dfcu expect to increase women entrepreneurs’ contribution to Uganda’s economy.


Speaking at the launch, Moses Kibirige, Executive Director of dfcu Ltd, said, “Our group has been searching for ways to address the needs of Uganda’s women entrepreneurs.  We are very pleased to partner with IFC to launch the Women in Business program, which will enable us to increase our support to women-owned businesses.”


Rachel Kyte, Director of IFC’s Environment and Social Department, noted, “Women business owners have traditionally had problems getting access to business loans, for many reasons.  But the benefits of extending banking services to women entrepreneurs are significant.  Banks can grow their business by serving the ‘underbanked‘ and ’unbanked.’  Women comprise the majority of Africa’s entrepreneurs, and allowing them to access finance is both smart business and smart development. Women are the key to Africa’s sustainable economic growth.”


Although Ugandan women own about 40 percent of their country’s private enterprises, they represent only 9 percent of credit.  A major barrier facing women entrepreneurs is their limited ownership of land, which banks usually require as collateral.  They also have little access to financial management training and often lack experience in dealing with banks.


The new program seeks to address these issues by finding innovative ways to provide loans to women.  The training covers banking requirements and processes, financial literacy, and networking as well as mentoring.  dfcu staff have also received training on customer care and gender.


“I have greatly benefited from the dfcu capacity building program, especially in the area of financial literacy,” said Mabel Kiggundu, Managing Director of Elma Express Delivery Limited, one of the women who participated in the pilot phase of the training.  “I am now better equipped to deal with financial institutions to grow my business.  The networking and sharing of experiences with other women in business has been invaluable.  I thank dfcu for this initiative.”


Vanessa Erogbogbo, Program Officer in the IFC team and a Ugandan national, said, “I congratulate dfcu on its foresight in developing this world-class program for women in Uganda, and urge the country’s women entrepreneurs to be successful in their businesses and to be at the forefront of Africa’s development.”

 
World Bank Group research has established that women are more likely than men to contribute additional income to reducing household poverty.  Giving more women access to credit and increasing their economic power is also more likely to translate into improved livelihoods for a wide cross-section of society, and women entrepreneurs are more likely to employ other women.


About dfcu Group

dfcu Group is a member of the Global Banking Alliance for Women, a worldwide group of banks that are sharing best practices to accelerate the global growth and development of women's businesses and women's wealth creation.


dfcu Group currently offers long-term project finance, leasing, mortgages, and a full range of commercial banking services and has committed $147 million in funding.  The group is a private limited company owned by CDC Group plc (60 percent), NORFUND (10 percent), National Social Security Fund (10 percent) and an amalgamate of private and corporate shareholders (20 percent). dfcu is listed on the Uganda Stock Exchange.  For more information, please visit
www.dfcugroup.com.

About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives.  Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries.  IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in programme support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability.  For more information, please visit
www.ifc.org.

About GEM

IFC Gender Entrepreneurship Markets is a cross-cutting initiative to mainstream gender issues throughout IFC operations, while helping better leverage the untapped potential of women in emerging markets.  The program was launched in December 2004 to introduce a systematic focus on gender as a comparative advantage for clients.


IFC GEM's activities are structured around three main goals, with an initial regional focus on Africa and the Middle East:  increasing access to finance for women, adding value to IFC investment projects, and addressing gender barriers in the business enabling environment.

In Kampala, Uganda
Susan Nsibirwa Nkugwa
dfcu Group
Phone: +256 312 300 200
E-mail: SNsibirwa@dfcugroup.com