Minister dismayed most women owned SMEs remain informal
By Tapiwa Svondo
Women Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Monica Mutsvangwa says 56 percent of local SMEs are run by women although a majority of them largely remain informal.
She was speaking recently at the Open Market Day and Exhibition organised by the Organisation of Women in Trade (OWIT) and Ecobank.
The event aimed at providing a platform for women in international trade to network, share experiences, and explore opportunities for business growth and export competitiveness.
Mutsvangwa said there are 3.4 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) operating in the country.
Of these, 56 percent are women-owned.
“Our population is made up of 52 percent women who play multiple roles in the economy of Zimbabwe as traders, workers, producers, caregivers and taxpayers.
“There are 3.4 million MSMES in Zimbabwe and 56 percent of them are women,” she said.
Mutsvangwa stressed the importance of formalising and making the enterprises competitive, especially in light of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“Women owned MSMES are however largely informal and my ministry is accelerating its efforts to formalise them and make them competitive in light of the AfCFTA.
“Zimbabwe is one of the first countries to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).
“…Under the AfCFTA, there are vast investment and trade opportunities that we want our women to benefit from.”
The minister encouraged women to add value to local resources, creating employment opportunities, reducing poverty and Gender-Based Violence, and enhancing rural industrialisation.
“To enhance value chain development, my Ministry is promoting value addition of local resource endowments and is establishing a fruit and vegetable processing plant for women in Hauna.
“We have established a Madora Processing plant for women in Beitbridge and a Gold Processing Plant for women in Guruve.
“All these projects beneficiate local resource endowments and promote employment, livelihoods, rural industrialization and reduce Gender Based Violence and poverty,” she said.