By Amadou Jadama
Vice president Isatou Touray yesterday launched the 3 million Euros Women Enterprise Fund at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
The project is under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Children and Social Welfare.
The fund is a 3-million euro investment which aims to assist women entrepreneurs grow their existing businesses and enables them to mature to a state where they can pursue opportunities in domestic and global markets.
The goals of this fund are to reduce poverty, promote national development and empower women.
In her keynote address, Dr Isatou Touray revealed that the money was provided by the EU and that in January The Gambia Government put in five million dalasis into the fund and an additional one million dalasis to meet the annual operating cost.
“The Women Enterprise Fund is a semi-autonomous government agency in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Children and Social Welfare to provide accessible and affordable credit to support women in expanding their business, for wealth and employment creation,” she noted.
She said it is a step towards helping Gambian women achieve the Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality and women empowerment.
Vice president Touray added that no meaningful development can take place if the women, who form the majority of the population, lag behind.
“In January 2019, approval was granted for government to contribute five million dalasis to the fund and [another] one million dalasis to meet the annual operating cost.
The European Union is also committing three million euros to complement support for the government for the period of 24 months running from 2019 to 2021”, she said.
“The 3 million euro fund will target rural women and the vulnerable living in the country.
My ministry’s aims and objective is to help the women enterprises to be upgraded and make their living conditions better,” she asserted.
“It is planned that the fund will develop entrepreneurship skills for more than 10,000 women and girls by 2021.
This will contribute to their economic empowerment and uplift their socio-economic status significantly,” she said.
She cautioned the women folk to be law-abiding and maintain the peace and stability in the county. She warned them not to help politicians in their “political proxy wars”.
The EU representative underscored the EU’s commitment towards the project and said the EU is concerned about the social injustices women are suffering.
The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Children and Social Welfare, Fatou Kinteh, said that women form the majority of the poor in The Gambia which derails their economic development.
Other speakers include Isatou DEA Sawaneh, the chairperson of the National Women’s Council who echoed similar remarks.