Mrs Elsie Awadzi, Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, has called for joint efforts of the public and private sectors to push women economically for national development.

She said this is because women had been known to have the potential to transform and positively impact their households, communities, businesses and the country in general.

She noted that women remained an untapped resource that needed to be encouraged to harness their full potential in every environment they found themselves.

Mrs Awadzi was speaking at the maiden edition of the National Women’s Dialogue, organized by the POS Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, with funding from the GIZ, Ghana.

She said there was the need to remove the obstacles that women continued to face in their endeavour to meaningfully impact the socio-economic development of the nation.

The Women’s Dialogue was held to herald series of national discussions on challenges women face in their business and in society generally, while proposing solutions.

It was on the theme: “Gender Equity, Women Economic Empowerment and Access to Justice; Requisites for Driving SME Growth in Ghana.”

Mrs Awadzi said the financial services industry now had a fair representation of women and men who championed women’s cause, adding that the Bank of Ghana also continued to make the financial sector safe and sound.

More banks and specialized deposit-taking institutions were introducing innovative financial products for women entrepreneurs as part of efforts to improve access to finance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), she said.

“Thanks to the opportunities presented by the rapid growth of mobile money and digital financial services in Ghana, a number of financial institutions now provide micro credit to women in the informal sector to support their retail or agricultural businesses for example,” Mrs Awazdi said.

“Other financial institutions were targeting more formal businesses owned by women and providing not only credit facilities but also capacity building and coaching services.”

However, a lot more had to be done, particularly in reducing the cost of credit and increasing skills development for women entrepreneurs, she said.

Also more women must be encouraged to take advantage of emerging technologies to run their businesses more efficiently and to improve their access to finance.

Mrs Awadzi advised women in SMEs to take advantage of special products put in place for them at financial and micro finance institutions.

Ms Nicola Hodasi, the Political and Economic Officer of the German Embassy, said women must be empowered as the German Corporation implementing agency GIZ is seeking to do for industrious women in all sectors of the economy, either formal or informal.

Madam Sheila Azuntaba, the Chief Executive Officer of Innovative Microfinance Limited, encouraged female entrepreneurs to endeavour to take risks to grow their businesses, as well as be more diligent in their business management, book and record keeping.

Mrs Georgette Barnes Sakyi-Addo, the Executive Director and Leader of Georgette Barnes Ltd, urged female students to take their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects seriously to enable them to secure well placed jobs and business entrepreneurship projects to make them financially viable.

Mr Jonathan Osei Wusu, the Executive Director, POS Foundation, said his organisation and the GIZ were undertaking the Dialogue initiative to empower women in all sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

He said the series would be replicated in Kumasi and Tamale to mobilise women and empower them with the right information and resources to propel them to higher economic heights.

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