THE Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Tanzania, Mr Geumyoung Song, has reiterated their commitment to continue supporting Global Together Tanzania, a microcredit initiative in boosting gender equality in the country.
Mr Song observed this in Dar es Salaam recently in his official address at the Microcredit Seminar organised by Global Together Tanzania through the facilitation of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
“We will continue to further strengthen our partnership by supporting Tanzania’s social economic development, poverty reduction as well as improve sustainability of microcredit,” said Mr Song.
He pointed out that microcredit is an important aspect for women empowerment and their development.
“In South Korea, we have a strong belief on women empowerment strengthening the development of the country……being great on the other hand, requires standing together, without leaving anyone behind,” noted the Ambassador. He also observed that the history between the two countries dates from way back and the plan is to continue strengthening the partnership.
“Before the end of this year, Tanzania is going to put up an embassy in South Korea, an important milestone for the partnership,” he noted.
The Country Director of Global Together Tanzania, Ms Heekyung Kim, said their organisation has been operating in the country for four years and provided loans to approximately 2,500 beneficiaries. “Through the programme, we have witnessed women change their self-reliance through economic independence and raising their voices in their communities,” said Ms Kim.
She cited among factors threatening microcredit in the country including steep inflation rate and exchange rate fluctuations which have lowered the value of the loan principal.
“Others include most of the businesses are concentrated in urban areas, centering on small merchants, making little contribution to eliminating the gap between urban and rural areas. Countermeasures are needed to curb such threats and problems,” she observed.
On her part, the Former Managing Director of the Tanzania Women’s Bank (TWB), Ms Margaret Chacha, noted that in majority of the communities, women lack collaterals and track records that lenders tend to require.
“Before I left the bank, 80 percent of the borrowers were women, but they could only secure small loans for they lacked collaterals as compared to men,” noted Ms Chacha.
She was of the view that microfinance is important, although it requires proper regulation policies and should also be shared through cost sharing for it to prosper.