By CATHERINE NYIRENDA
FIRST Lady Christine Kaseba has said contributions women make to the economic sector of the country and Africa as a whole should be recognised.
Dr Kaseba said women were making massive contributions to various sectors of the Zambian economy such as agriculture, but that their achievements had not been recognised.
She said this at Government House in Lusaka yesterday during a fundraising luncheon for the T hird African Women’s Economic Summit which Zambia would host from July 24 to 26, 2014.
“Women’s contribution to economic growth has largely gone unnoticed because women are always thought of as those selling on the roadside, but there is far much more women are doing to contribute to the economy of this country,” Dr Kaseba said.
She said Zambia should celebrate the excellent work and achievements of women in various enterprises even though they faced some challenges such as limited access to banking and financial services.
The First Lady said it was a well-known fact that women, especially in rural areas, had limited access to financial services due to their low education status, which led to financial illiteracy, and the requirement of collateral such as land.
She said such challenges explained why most of the business women remained trapped as micro entrepreneurs.
Dr Kaseba said she was happy that during the International Women’s Day commemorated recently, President Michael Sata made significant pronouncements to address the challenges women were facing.
She said among the pronouncements was the directive to the Ministry of Lands to empower women with land. Dr Kaseba was also happy that the Bank of Zambia had put in place reforms to increase financial services in the rural areas and to increase financial literacy among women.
The summit, being organised by the Ministry of Gender in partnership with the African Development Bank (ADB) and other stakeholders, would bring together African women and other global decision makers to agree on how to accelerate women’s economic empowerment on the continent.
ADB special gender envoy, Geraldine Moloketi said the bank had committed K4.5 million to help with the summit.
Ms Moleketi said as Africa was geared for growth, it should not hurt itself by leaving out women in the economic potential. Several companies attended the fundraising luncheon and pledged financial support towards the summit.
The central bank pledged K400, 000, while Zamtel committed itself to K55, 000 and free wi-fi for all delegates at the summit. Vice-President Guy Scott and his wife, Charlotte, attended the luncheon.