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7 steps to empower women entrepreneurs in Tanzania

By Equality for Growth

Even if a female entrepreneur owns property, she is often prevented from making effective use of it, such as using it as collateral.

1. Strengthen participation in female entrepreneur associations

There is a lack of awareness in respect of female entrepreneur associations, and very little interaction between existing associations and such associations’ potential members. Existing associations need to concentrate on promoting themselves and the services that they can offer to members. Associations need to be coordinated so that they can form a network, thereby facilitating the sharing of information, services, training, and resources, which would lead ultimately to the strengthening of such associations. Stronger associations will be more effective at bringing about change at a regional and national level. Properly organised and coordinated associations will be more effective in raising their members’ voices and carrying out advocacy. Effective capacity building of members will allow female entrepreneurs to engage fully in the association, so that they build an association which truly caters for their needs.


2. Increase access to legal advice and education
The survey has revealed that the vast majority of respondents do not have access to legal advice when they need it. Although there is free legal advice available in Dar es Salaam and, to a lesser degree, other parts of Tanzania, none of the organisations focus on the legal aspects of business.

Female entrepreneurs are often prevented from developing their businesses due to lack of business law knowledge. This means that many businesses are not formalised and remain extralegal, making compliance with employment and labour standards impossible. Female entrepreneurs with informal businesses are more vulnerable as they face additional difficulties which prevent them from entering into valid contracts and accessing credit.


3. Increase business-related training
Through partnership with other business-related organisations, EFG intends to enhance women’s understanding of their legal rights.


4. Empower female entrepreneurs to undertake advocacy
Only one of the respondents in the survey had participated in any kind of advocacy. Female entrepreneurs need to be empowered, through leadership training and by other means, to advocate on their own behalf and thereby ensure that policies do not act as barriers to development.

Stronger associations and networks of associations will provide a collective voice for female entrepreneurs which will lead to more effective advocacy. Encouraging associations to form networks will also lead to such networked associations being able to have an impact on not only the national but also the international arena.


5. Improve knowledge of women’s rights
The low level of respondents who professed to know their rights as a woman shows that there is a need for female entrepreneurs to have greater awareness of their rights and entitlements, as well as access to best practice models and guides to starting and running their own enterprises.


6. Facilitate land ownership
Discriminatory customary practices still prevent women from gaining title to land. Even if a female entrepreneur owns property, she is often prevented from making effective use of it, such as using it as collateral, since much of the land in Tanzania is unregistered and therefore not eligible for use as credit security. There is a need to continue to work towards eradicating discriminatory practices towards women with respect to land ownership and to increase awareness, particularly in rural areas, of the land reforms which uphold a woman’s rights to land. Reform of the land registration system will also allow entrepreneurs to gain better access to business premises.


7. Improve ease of business set-up and running
Lack of formal business set up is a problem for both male and female entrepreneurs. The majority of the respondents had not registered their businesses and did not hold licences. Business registration and licence procedures, as well as tax requirements need to be reformed in respect of small and medium enterprises so that more of these businesses can enter the formal economy


Read the full report from EfG – Baseline survey of female entrepreneurs in Temeke, Kinondoni and Ilala districts of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Equality for Growth (EfG) aims to empower informal women workers in Tanzania through legal and human rights education, advocacy and capacity building in order to eradicate poverty.