Us­ing land on loan

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shindi Mayenga, a hair­dresser in the Tan­za­nian cap­i­tal of Dodoma, had a vi­sion to ex­pand her busi­ness. She wanted to trans­form her small sa­lon from a di­lap­i­dated rented room into a larger, “main street” en­ter­prise, but ev­ery time she ap­plied for a bank loan, her re­quest was turned down.

She did not own her home or any land, and had no as­sets to serve as col­lat­eral for the loan.

“I was asked to present valu­able as­sets to sup­port my ap­pli­ca­tion, but I did not have any,” she said.

Af­ter a long strug­gle, the 31-year-old en­tre­pre­neur from a bustling Dar es Salaam sub­urb man­aged to se­cure a piece of land on loan, which in turn helped her to ac­cess the fi­nance she needed.

Mayenga is one of thou­sands of low­in­come fe­male en­trepreneurs in Tan­za­nia who have ac­quired reg­is­tered land on loan, which they can use as se­cu­rity to seek fi­nance to grow their busi­nesses.

As part of its broader pol­icy to em­power women, the Tan­za­nia Women’s Bank (TWB) has started lend­ing reg­is­tered plots of land to fe­male en­trepreneurs as a way to lift them out of poverty.

“I am very happy to buy a plot of land through this ar­range­ment, and my loan was ap­proved within days,” said Mayenga.

“I have al­ready started build­ing my house in Kigam­boni, where my new plot is lo­cated, and I hope to use my land ti­tle to bor­row 10 mil­lion Tan­za­nian shillings (R71 600) to ex­pand my busi­nesses.”

Al­though Tan­za­nian law grants women the same rights as men to ac­cess, own and con­trol land, and al­lows them to par­tic­i­pate in de­ci­sion mak­ing on land mat­ters, only 20% of women own land in their own names, ac­cord­ing to USAid.

The TWB, in con­junc­tion with Ardhi Plan – a prop­erty com­pany – is hop­ing to im­prove prospects for fe­male en­trepreneurs by lend­ing them low-cost land.

Cam­paign­ers have praised the ini­tia­tive as a model for em­pow­er­ing fe­male en­trepreneurs, not just in Tan­za­nia but through­out east Africa.

In Uganda, a sim­i­lar pro­ject was launched by the De­vel­op­ment Fi­nance Com­pany of Uganda in 2007 to help women ob­tain loans to pur­chase prop­erty to use as col­lat­eral.

– Reuters

PHOTO: ISTOCK

BORN FOR BUSI­NESS low-cost land

The Tan­za­nia Women’s Bank is im­prov­ing the lives of fe­male en­trepreneurs by lend­ing them

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