Reducing gender gap for economic growth in EAC

Monday November 11 2019


By Hellen Nachilongo @musanachi60 hnachilongo@tz.nationmedia

In order to promote women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work there is need to reduce gender gaps in leadership, entrepreneurship and access to resources recognize women’s contribution to unpaid care.

According to International Labour Organization (ILO) as the nation advances its transformational development agenda, it is crucial that all women and girls are enabled to make their contribution to the industrialization of Tanzania.

The Sustainable Development Goals are an opportunity to pool our efforts together and develop coherent, mutually effective and supporting policies for the economic lives of all women and girls.

In line with Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, achieving gender equality at work is an essential precondition to translate our ambitions into actions.

Uganda, minister of State for Gender and Culture Peace Mutuuzo stated that the East African Community (EAC) will not develop economically, if women will be left out in economic activities, interaction and social related issues.

According to her, the longer East Africa will take to bring women on board on economic, leadership managerial and other developmental issues, the longer they shall take to develop the East Africa Community (EAC) and the rest of the world.


“The longer we take, the longer it will take us time to develop, we will have nobody else to blame instead let’s point fingers at ourselves. If we will not involve women let us stop pointing fingers at any other person because we have our means and ways of how to liberate ourselves so the time for blame game is over, it’s us on stage to make decisions to include more women in decision making,” she said.

She made the remarks during the EAC Arts and Culture Festival themed around culture diversity, as a key driver to regions integration economic growth and promotion of tourism which attracted high profile government officials from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and the host Tanzania.

According to her, when you look at the unifications of German and Italy which took four years to come into force, they also had some other interest to protect their countries but, instead they looked at the bigger picture and right now they are ruling the world…… “So can we move now, can we forget about other small differences and concentrate on the bigger interest of the children and future greater grandchildren.”

She further stressed that it is a deliberate means and efforts for the East Africa countries to bring women on board to walk side by side with men, the process will be much easier when women are involved.

Especially that women were peace makers, women never start wars but it is their counterparts who starts wars and women do not have a lot greed.

“ For example, in some sectors where I was tested to work, I did not find or witness a lot of corruption because most women have integrity to protect, are family makers and they care not only about their children but they care about their generations. Women even desire to see their great grandchildren very comfortable.”

Ms Mutuuzo highlighted that East Africa countries should think of giving women big opportunities because they are the biggest drivers of the economy, work in their home, at no pay, do not demand for that even in their old age they continue to work and no one would ever pay them so what a big patriotic section of people that the bloc has deliberately left behind.

“If we wait for sovereignty to take decisions, it will take forever because everybody was voted, everybody has their thumbs of reference, everybody has thumbs of office and everybody has thumbs of interest and their interest come first than anything else it is culture that will bring the interest of the current and future generation, at the desire for the unification the of EAC” she said.

She noted that disappointing that women come last, in terms of education there are the ones who come last, in terms of division of work they all look for things that do not earn much and then the men of course seat on the big executive posts… “I get hungry up to this minute.”

“When we talk about the Informative Action we are looking back at 30 per cent in several levels of economic, decision making…“30 per cent” out of the 51 per cent of all the human beings some women are now still proud and comfortable that have given powers and are decision makers “30 per cent” she cautioned.

Uganda Associate of Fine Art and Dean of Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Art at Makerere University Dr Kizito Kasule said it is unfortunately that most EAC heads of states think development of the EAC economy is to collect tax which is very wrong.

He noted heads of states should invest in women and people who are going to produce products which can enable their governments to generate income rather than concentrating on tax collection.

“In EAC the moment when you set up an industry, the next day the revenue department or customs will come to ask for tax,” he said.

He stressed that most European countries have succeeded in tax collection because the European Union has invested in women who produce products to enable government generate income. “Women have been equipped with technical skills, sometimes EU secure loan with reasonable lending rates to its people unlike EAC and most African countries.”

Mr Kasule further explained that there is still big problem of loan security in EAC, which was not good and not attractive for investors to invest in the region.

He noted that cultural diversity can enable EAC to boost economy and tourism sector in the bloc unfortunately countries are yet to realize because women are left behind.

“I want to urge EAC that any culture which does not contribute to the economic wellbeing’s of its women in the current age has no relevance in the economic globalization, its survival will be questionable,” he said.

However, majority of the East African countries immediately after independence, did not put in place cultural policies to guide the development of the cultural diversity which includes women for economic development.

He added that to develop cultural diversity as a tourism attraction, requires developing guiding cultural policies and putting the required infrastructure in place that support the tourism industry, such as hotels, road, human resource development and provision of security. It took East African countries years to develop cultural policies to guide the development of the cultural industry.

“Let us put our resources together, let us promote EAC by giving our women front seats to promote the economy,” he said.

The annual festival designed to promote regional socio- cultural integration enabled the respective countries to share several culture differences, in terms of songs and cloths and some symposiums were conducted to discuss several issues.

During the symposium among other discussions and presentations that were presented include policy and regulation frameworks for the promotion of culture and creative industries, cultural tourism and regional economic development, linkage with domestic tourism and cultural diversity and the empowerment of women, youth and children.

The discussions were all virtual and informative revolving around cultural diversity and empowerment of women, youth and children with most panellists saying their countries have made some steps to ensure women participate in economic activities.