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New Zimbabwe

MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khupe says the Women’s Bank has failed to serve the purpose it was created for as it is operating like any other commercial bank demanding collateral up-front for loans.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Khupe said the bank demands collateral from women yet majority of these do not have any collateral to access funding to grow or start their business.

She said Zimbabwe’s economy is highly informal, with those in the sector estimated to be 90% or more but the majority were women of up-to 78% who are surviving from hand to mouth.

“When the Women’s Bank was created, we thought that it was for the purpose of serving the interest of those women who are at the bottom of the pyramid, those in rural areas so that they have access to capital. These women are the ones sustaining the economy but they can only continue to do so if they are empowered by the bank,” Khupe said.

“Government should make sure the bank changes its rules so that conditions are changed for women to have access to funding. The sad thing is that this bank is not serving that purpose,” she said.

She highlighted that the bank was operating like any other commercial banks like ZB and others who require collateral but women in general do have such collateral to present to the bank when borrowing funding for their projects.

“The bank should run in line with what other banks are doing such as Bank of Bangladesh and Bank of India who empower women with access to capital without too many conditions attached,” she added.

Khupe’s calls come after Senate President and Zanu PF secretary for women’s affairs Marble Chinomona recently condemned the bank for not offering transport to one of its employees who was assigned to a ruling party function in Goromonzi North constituency.

The Women’s Bank was opened by President Mnangagwa in 2018 to give women access to loans for developmental projects but only a handful have managed to get funding as the bank has not been fully funded by government to help women.

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