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
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.
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.
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.