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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK
Will women reach their potential?
African women using water pump
Is enough being done to unleash the economic power of African women?

Female entrepreneurship is on the agenda at the "Davos for Women" summit getting under way in Cairo.

It is a global summit that brings together leading female professionals, businesswomen and government ministers to discuss the role and potential of women in the world economy.

In many sub-Saharan African countries, it is the women who do most of the work, producing about 90% of the continent's food and dominating the informal sector.

But women still face huge obstacles when they try to contribute to Africa's economic growth. For instance, they are often denied access to credit facilities and face difficulties when it comes to registering land and controlling what crops are grown on it.

Are you a woman trying to expand your business? Do you have access to the sort of credit you need? What others barriers do you face? Have you succeeded? If so, tell us the secret of your success.

Send us your views and experiences using the form on the right.


Your comments:

A lot of laws prohibit African women from inheriting property and owning resources such as land. So women miss the head start which men enjoy. How then can they compete on a fair ground and proceed into entrepreneurship?
Jackline Oluoch, Kenya

All that women need is proper attitude, skills, knowledge and the technical know-how in business
Shuttie F.N.Libuta, Zambia

I am a woman who is still juggling work schedules and running an eight hectare piece of land, but I have not come to the stage of involving the banks yet. I want to use my small funds until when I shall be able to settle down onto the farm permanently. All that women need is proper attitude, skills, knowledge and the technical know-how in business and they will never go wrong.
Shuttie F.N.Libuta, Kitwe, Zambia

I am a man and a passionate broadcaster about women empowerment. Realising the challenges that most of them go through, I want as much as possible to highlight their success stories so that others can be inspired to do even better. While not much is being done in Malawi to empower women, I do see the future getting brighter by the day as more and more girls and women are offered quality education, health facilities and services. This to me is the key for them to reach their potential.
Victor Kaonga, Lilongwe, Malawi

In Ghana, the society's perception against women that their place is in the kitchen is gradually fading away. Currently, women are matching men boot for boot in terms of every thing. Most women are now in positions that previously would have have been difficult for them to attain.
Amegbe Hayford, Ghana

Efforts are being done but the most serious hindrance to Women's emancipation economically is their position in society. As long as community still gives women a low stake in its affairs, even prospecting entrepreneurs will be sceptical in making interventions for the good cause of women because the dominance by males may jeopardise their economic initiatives.
TimCharles, Katakwi, Uganda

The financial institutions will not grant any credit facility if they do not have collateral.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

It is unfortunate that despite their hard work, African women still face obstacles in getting credit facilities. The financial institutions will not grant any credit facility if they do not have enough or any collateral. Other major obstacles are sexual favour, bureaucracies and corruption. The processes they have to go through in order to get loans to expand their businesses is so cumbersome that they wouldn't want to go through it. Also, some of the managers in the financial institutions would demand a certain percentage of the loan amount. Some of the women rely on family members for assistance or private lenders who charge exorbitant fees. Illiteracy is another major obstacle militating against these woman. Some of them do not even know they can get a loan from the banks or do not know how to go about it. Some of them believe that it is only the rich and famous that can get credit facility. The key to overcoming some of these obstacles are enlightenment, awareness and education.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

I have not given up on African women reaching their full potential. Even in America, a woman's right to vote just 50 years ago may have been thought to be an unreachable dream.
Joe Abey, Cameroonian in Chicago, USA




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