KIMIHURURA - The First Lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame has underscored the role of the private sector in economic development saying that governments don’t make money but businesses do. She was speaking yesterday at the opening of the first ever regional round table of women entrepreneurs from East Africa at Prime Holdings Conference Centre, Kimihurura.
“The combination therefore of Government emphasis on economic empowerment of women, and understanding of the private sector as a national economic driver, paves the way for building women entrepreneurship structures in Rwanda,” Mrs Kagame said.
She argued that in order to build competitiveness in entrepreneurship, there is need to address constraints like difficulties in access to funding, weak entrepreneurship skills and weak partnership mechanisms. The First Lady called on women to find links between important elements of entrepreneurial growth for women nationally and regionally.
“The very act of women coming together at a regional level to talk about business is serious business indeed,” she said.
She added that: “I urge you during your discussions to clearly demonstrate the place and the role of women entrepreneurs in regional trading and in the business world as a whole.”
Several women entrepreneurs expressed optimism that the two-day forum would enable them learn from each other in working for economic self reliance.
“We have attained exhibition skills and networked with colleagues here; we shall use this to develop other women at home,” said Harriet Nansukusa, the Programme Manager of Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association. Aline Ngendankazi from MI-SOFT, an information and technology firm in Burundi said: “It’s been a grand opportunity to share experience; this will further develop us.”
Erisa Kissa, the Vice Chairperson of Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce, said that the forum had created a platform through which East African women entrepreneurs would exchange ideas on products they make.