South Africa-Economy-Women

S/Africa needs ‘ecosystems to drive women’s role in economy' - Ramaphosa

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

South Africa must “create an ecosystem” that will drive the economic empowerment of women in order to reduce their vulnerability to abuse - and “to contribute to the equitable and inclusive growth of the economy”, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.

Delivering a keynote address at the inaugural Women Economic Assembly (WEA) in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Ramaphosa called on the public and private sectors to create ecosystems that would help drive the meaningful participation of women in the economy. 

“We must establish an ecosystem of support for female business owners because one of the problems that women have is that they have no access, they have no knowledge, and they have no way of knowing how to get assistance,” Ramaphosa said.

He added: “We should create that ecosystem so that it becomes the order of things, so that women are able to have easy access to everything -- markets, funding, and assistance to run their businesses.” 

Ramaphosa said the government would move fast to ensure that its 40% preferential procurement target for women-owned businesses was achieved.  

He noted that women were virtually absent as owners in key industries such as the steel sector, energy, agriculture and mining sectors.

“That needs to change,” he said, adding that the WEA should also seek to rebuild township and rural economies in an inclusive manner.

Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) board chairperson Busi Mabuza said access to supply chain opportunities was a game-changer for women-owned businesses.  

Mabuza said the IDC had offered cumulative funding of just under US$857 million to women-owned businesses in the current financial year.


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