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Econet partners WOBT to help women access markets, scale their businesses

13 April 2023

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has signed a supplier diversity and inclusion (SDI) partnership agreement with the Women Owned Business Trust (WOBT) at a colourful ceremony in Harare.

The agreement will result in Econet, the country’s largest telecommunications and technology company, working with the WOBT – a trust dedicated to helping women access markets and scale their businesses – to increase its procurement expenditure on women-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs. 

The pact comes at a time best practice among top global companies is shifting towards embracing diversity as a key driver of business sustainability. 

Speaking at the signing ceremony, which was attended by the Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Dr Jennifer Mhlanga, government officials, United Nations Women’s representatives, senior Econet management and women entrepreneurs among others, WOBT chairperson Dr Divine Ndhlukula said the move by Econet, to commit to doing business with women-led organizations, will help economically empower female entrepreneurs.

“According to the World Food Programme, investing in women builds stronger nations. When females earn income, they reinvest 90% of their incomes in their families and communities, leading to faster local development of communities,” she said. 

“Women go out of their way to employ women too, (ensuring) safe jobs for women. Indeed, this is a game-changing idea for women's prosperity.”

Dr Ndhlukula, who is also the managing director of Securico Security Services, noted that 30% of businesses are owned by women, mainly at micro and small scale levels, but receive less than 1% of large corporate and government spending.

“Also commonly noted is that 90% of procurement is biased against women for various reasons. Women Owned Business Trust seeks to create sustainable markets for women-owned enterprises as a practical solution to support scaling of women enterprises,” she said.