Mugabe launches women’s empowerment framework in Zimbabwe
Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, last month launched the government’s Broad-Based Women’s Economic Empowerment Framework (BBWEEF).
Acknowledging women as important contributors to Zimbabwe’s development after the country’s economic collapse in 2008/9, he said that women needed to obtain the necessary skills to ensure success in their business activities.
One of the Framework’s strategic interventions is “enhancing women’s business ownership or entrepreneurship and facilitating women’s participation in key economic decision-making positions”.
Mugabe also proposed investing in girls’ education, encouraging them to take up trades and apprenticeships, saying:
“Let us educate our children so that the girl can be a metallurgist or geologist” enabling women to aspire to “employment equity with men”.
Zimbabwe is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), which scores and ranks countries according to factors like life expectancy, educational attainment, income and quality of life, Zimbabwe currently stands at 173 out of 179 countries.
The HDI also shows that Zimbabwe has experienced the largest decrease in economic development between 1998 and 2010.
Life expectancy is about 50 and less than half the population have adequate access to sanitation.
According to UNICEF over 50% of the population live on $1 a day.
As long as such vast inequality exist between the president and Zimbabwe’s people, economic empowerment – for women or men – remains a distant reality.