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Women entrepreneurs tipped to accelerate green transformation

PHOTO | GIZ

Women entrepreneurs in eight African countries will benefit from financial and technical assistance provided by Germany’s GIZ and partners in order to transform their enterprises into green and sustainable ventures.

The Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4D) programme co-founded by the European Union launched in January this year targets to support green transformation in women businesses in sectors such as waste management and circular economy, organic agriculture, eco-tourism, renewable energy, construction and transport.

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According to WE4D Programme Director Katja Röckel, the programme will also focus on employment promotion for women in Africa by linking them with public and private sector.

“At WE4D, we look at economic empowerment of women in Africa. In various countries in Africa, women do a lot of the work but we need these women to get into more jobs, better jobs and better conditions,” said Katja.

Through the programme, the selected women business owners will also benefit from capacity development, access to markets, business to business linkages and links to financiers.

“Climate change is affecting sub-Saharan Africa enormously. Agricultural programmes are extremely affected but also life in the cities. This is one of the gaps we have identified and we want to work with women who are our main target group to identified ne w green products and sell them profitably on the market,” she added.

So far, the German government through GI Z has supported the programme to the tune of Ksh 4.8 billion (EUR 30m).

Melvin Marsh International Chief Executive Officer Flora Mutahi says involvement of women in green transformation is critical in scaling small and medium enterprises which are 93pc owned by women as well as reducing the gender parity in the work environment

“We are looking at the green economy as a change that has come. If women can get into the green space they would be able to play a larger role in areas where they are already not present. We are seeing the greening and sustainability for women to leapfrog and be able to play their role in the employment and reduce the gaps we have been talking about,” she added.

Women have also been urged to tap into green financing models as a way of accessing up to date technologies and machinery that will support green transition especially in the manufacturing value chain.

“If women can get access to green financing then we can bring efficiency in how we are operating our businesses and also new technologies that are able to help us reduce the energy we consume as we do the processing and get products that are good an eco-friendly to the consumer,” noted Mary Ngechu, Line Plast Group Managing Director.

The WE4D programme will run until 2027 targeting women business owners in Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

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