Kampala, December 1, 2021 – Uganda’s economic recovery will be faster, stronger and more sustainable if it places more women at the center of profitable economic activity, according to the18e edition of the Uganda Economic Update (UEU).
Uganda Economic Update: Putting Women at the Center of Uganda’s Economic Recovery, which predicts that the country’s economic growth will be between 3.5% and 4.0% in FY 22 and around 5.5% in FY 23, also discusses a special topic on empowerment economic recovery, with a focus on putting women at the center of Uganda’s economic recovery.
Uganda continues to face gender inequalities in economic empowerment and economic outcomes, despite narrowing gender gaps in rates of labor market participation and entrepreneurial activity. Women earn less than men, and according to the UEU, increasing women’s incomes to match men’s would increase national wealth by 11.8% ($ 1,619 per capita).
The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gaps between men and women in paid work and business ownership, and the 2020 lockdown triggered a wave of work stoppages and business closures that affected more women than men, while job losses and school closings have led to a greater share of delinquencies. care for women, who already shoulder a disproportionate share of household responsibilities.
While the Ugandan government has successfully helped women start small businesses through initiatives such as the Ugandan Women Entrepreneurship Program, more women entrepreneurs need to move into a larger business space to boost economic recovery and Uganda’s industrial transition.
To measurably close the gender gap in economic empowerment and economic performance, policy actions in three key areas will be essential:
- Help meet the demand of women entrepreneurs to lead growth-oriented businesses. When given the opportunity, Ugandan women are keen to run larger and more profitable businesses than microenterprises. Lack of access to sufficiently large loans is one of the many constraints they face, and this could be alleviated through legislative improvements that specifically prohibit gender discrimination in access to credit. In addition, legislation is needed to ensure gender equality in land inheritance rights and increase rates of women’s ownership rights to land, which is the main form of collateral required to obtain larger loans. from formal financial institutions.
- Address women’s time constraints so that they can complete their education, acquire marketable skills and work for pay outside the home. A common factor in making all three possible is the alleviation of the burden of care that older women and girls disproportionately bear in households. In addition to expanding access to early childhood education programs, the government could start by examining which child care models are appropriate.
- A government agency to lead the reorientation of government employment programs to move women from subsistence level to more growth-oriented sectors and jobs. Government policies and programs need to take better account of the diversity of skills and strengths that women bring to the economy. National strategies should have clear goals and guidelines for women’s participation, and could include a high-level champion to guide these efforts.
The benefits of investing in women’s marketable professional skills and growth-oriented entrepreneurship will benefit not only women, but their households and, by extension, Ugandan society as a whole.
The UEU also reveals that even before the COVID-19 shock, Uganda had already lost around US $ 61 billion due to gender inequalities. In addition, not investing in women deprives households and the economy of the contributions they would make and slows its transition out of agriculture..