Guyana has to address financial barriers ‘stacked against women’ – Pres. Ali

Access to capital is one of the financial barriers that women face when seeking to establish businesses but President Dr. Irfaan Ali says that Guyana should work towards eradicating the barriers against women.

The President said this on Saturday during a women and youth meeting at Anna Regina in Region Two (Pomeroon- Supenaam). This meeting was part of a cabinet outreach that was held over the past few days in this region.

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President Ali said, “Access to capital, one of the things that women are challenged with and we have to work with the private sector to reduce the burdensome approach.

“And frankly speaking, the barriers that are stacked against women to access capital to form businesses and open businesses.”

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The World Bank in its 2021 report on Women, Business and the Law stated that while much progress has been made over the years, global gender equality has not yet been achieved. Importantly, it was highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately jeopardised women’s social and economic capabilities.

In the local context, a 2018 Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) study on Small and Medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) here stated that the “most formidable challenge” to the SMEs was access to affordable financing. And, it was noted that women- owned SMEs, rather than men-owned SMEs, were more likely to experience financial and other challenges and thus, fail.

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The capital or financing referred to, in simple terms, is the money or other resources needed to open and operate the business. This can be garnered through loans, crowdfunding, investments, or otherwise.

President Ali acknowledged that these challenges against women are a “global problem”. He, however, posited, “Guyana should lead the effort to create a policy that would help to fix this.”

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Meanwhile, in a bid to generate employment opportunities for women in Region Two, the Head-of-State tasked the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond with establishing a wholly women-led tourism facility.

“… we can market it as the one facility in all of South America that is owned by women (and) that is an additional marketing advantage that we can make use of,” he said.

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The President also said that focus will be directed towards improving the lives and livelihoods of young people in the region. This focus will include providing more jobs, promoting entrepreneurial opportunities, and facilitating homeownership.

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