By Business Reporter
THREE months after Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank Limited (ZWMB) opened its doors to the public, no mining loans have been issued yet.
Responding to questions sent by Mining Index, ZWMB Head of Retail Banking, Clara Mukosera revealed the bank has not yet recorded loans issued for mining purposes within the first quarter of its operation.
‘We have not yet funded any mining projects to date. However, outreach programs have been done to women in mining and they are in the process of opening accounts and meeting requirements for loans,’
She highlighted the bank has made inroads in its awareness programs with some women keen on financing their mining operations saying ‘Gwanda, Lupane and Bindura women have expressed interest.’
The bank however called upon women in mining to take up loans to fund their operations.
Officially opened in June 2018, ZWMB is a deposit-taking micro-finance institution that offers loan finance for women in small-scale business operations such as mining, farming and savings accounts for group savings accounts.
Capitalised with a $10 million facility by the government at the time of its launch, ZWMB was created by the then Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development in order to alleviate poverty and give women access to financial services especially those in remote areas.
Reforms in the mining sector have not been gender sensitive as women continue to be disadvantaged financially. Women have also cried foul to victimisation, dispossession of their claims by men, and gender based violence.
Labour and occupational segregation plus lack of access to capital for the most basic tools has been the major bottleneck faced by artisanal women miners in Zimbabwe.
Mining requires a high capital investment to finance purchase of equipment and fund operational costs which make it important for ZWMB and other financial institutions to fund mining activities for small scale women miners.
In November 2016, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in partnership with then Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development donated mining equipment to Mthandazo Women’s Mining Centre in Collen Bawn, Gwanda District of Matabeleland South Province.
Introduction of new legislation and policies in recent years has led to the opening up of the mining sector to allow the entry of small-scale miners, including women who are estimated to be in control of a 30 percent stake in the sector. ENDS//