By Aisha Tamba
The chief executive officer of the Gambia Women’s Chamber of Commerce (GWCC) has lamented the devastating effects of Covid-19 on several women-owned enterprises in the country, urging the government to lessen the impacts by injecting in them stimulus.
Beatrice A Mboge told The Standard that Covid-19 has had and continues to hamper the development of women enterprises in the country and that there is a need for the government to provide a corridor for recovery.
“What I would like to see from the government is to give certain[cash] amount to women entrepreneurs to support their businesses,” she said.
According to GWCC her, Covid-19 has caused a lamentable drop in business activities thus underlining the need for effective government intervention in a form of the cash incentive.
“Their businesses are going down and most of them are not selling their goods as they should,” she reported.
She explained that the potential of the 51 per cent of the country’s population- women- to optimally contribute to the economic development of the country has been threatened and is still negatively affected by the Covid-19-induced slow-downs and devastations.
“If you have a business and your business is not moving, how can you contribute to economic development because if you don’t sell, you will not pay tax,” she explained.
Women’s access to land and finance
CEO Mboge reiterated the call for greater women participation in national development but expressed regret that women still find themselves struggling with the challenges of accessing finance and land.
She also emphasized GWC’s determination to partner with like-minded institutions in advancing women’s interests.
“As an institution promoting the economic empowerment of women, we wish to seek collaboration on matters relating to women in business,” she highlighted.
CEO Mboge disclosed that GWCC is currently working on a project to improve women’s inclusion in the decision-making process.
“We are also working on a project-Women on Board-to make sure that a part of women is in the decision-making positions and part of boards. If you look at the boards here in The Gambia, they will have two or three women in their boards and that’s it,” she stated, adding that disproportionate representation of women on boards is a deterrent to their participation in the decision-making.
“So, we are trying to increase the number of women on boards. These are some of the deterrents. If we are not part of where the decision is being made, how can we be taken care of?”