Government has pumped Shs125,284,190,541 into the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) in the six years it’s been active, Peace Mutuzo, the minister of state for gender and culture affairs said Wednesday while announcing the country’s participation in the International Day for Rural Women.
The day is being celebrated under the theme 'Food Security Amidst Climate Change: Building Resilience for Rural Women'.
According to the minister, by June of this year, the Programme had financed 16,041 women-founded projects, benefitting 185,396 individual women.
“2,200 women groups have repaid 100% of the funds advanced to them and these are being prepared to graduate their enterprises into small and medium enterprises,” she said, adding that “Shs20,191,995,963 has been repaid by the women out of the Shs24,819,000,000 that is due, representing 81.4% repayment rate.”
The program, which predominantly targets women within the age bracket of 18-65 years, was rolled out in FY 2015/16 to extend direct credit to women to enable them increase their income levels.
Apart from this UWEP, the government is also supporting women through initiatives like the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) Programme, the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP), Disability Grants, and others in health, education, infrastructure development, energy, information, communication technology, water and environment sectors.
The MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) has continuously ranked Uganda top at the global scale among economies having the most women business owners. At 39.6%, Uganda is followed by Botswana (38.5%) and Ghana (36.5%) as the world's three leading economies having the most women business owners.
The MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs highlights the vast socio-economic contribution of women entrepreneurs around the world and provides insights on the factors driving and inhibiting their advancement.
However, Minister Mutuzo also noted that a significant number of women are still among those that don’t own high-value property.
“For example, only 38% of women own houses compared to 54% of men while only 31% of women own land compared to 48% of men,” she said. “This is despite the fact that women account for over 80% of the agricultural production in the Country (according to the Uganda National Household Survey 2017).”