The SADC Secretariat joined forces with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) to organize a capacity-building workshop on Women’s Financial Inclusion and Economic Empowerment.
The event, held in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa, from November 13th to 14th, 2023, aimed to advance the goals of the SADC Financial Inclusion Gender Action Plan within the framework of the SADC Strategy on Financial Inclusion and SMEs Access to Finance (2023-2028).
Ms. Kealeboga Kelly Dambuza, Acting Head of the Gender Unit at the SADC Secretariat, emphasized the critical role of women in economic processes and the broader development outcomes achieved when women have access to resources and opportunities.
Despite these contributions, she acknowledged that women face significant financial exclusion and vulnerability, hindering their ability to reach their full economic potential.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Dambuza highlighted SADC’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment through the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
The workshop aligned with the Regional Multi-dimensional Women Economic Empowerment Programme adopted in 2019, focusing on enhancing women’s economic participation, addressing gender disparities, and promoting inclusive economic growth.
The SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015–2063 (SISR) were also emphasized, emphasizing the importance of women’s participation in industrialization processes.
Ms. Dambuza called for member states to adopt social, political, and financial measures, including the use of gender budgeting tools, to address women’s poverty.
Ms. Annelene Bremer, Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy to Botswana and SADC, highlighted the German Government’s funding of the SADC Project on Industrialization and Women Economic Empowerment Project.
She stressed the significance of addressing the financial inclusion of women as a crucial step toward their greater participation in SADC priority value chains.
The workshop focused on financial literacy for women entrepreneurs, the use of gender budgeting tools, and the implementation of a women-centered approach to financial services and products.
It emphasized the need to recognize the diversity among women and tailor financial services and products to meet their specific needs.
Ms. Bremer commended the SADC Secretariat for its commitment to addressing financial inclusion for women across the region.
The workshop served as a platform to strengthen the capacity of SADC Member States, particularly government officials from the Ministries of Finance, Trade, and Gender, as well as representatives from 14 SADC Member States.
Participants shared key lessons and experiences in designing and delivering women-centric financial services and products, contributing to gender-responsive financial inclusion strategies and empowering women economically.
This story has been adopted from the SADC Secretariat, Botswana.