Tanzania women miss out on sales

ARUSHA, Tanzania - Women entrepreneurs involved in cross-border trade in the region lack knowledge of the East African Community (EAC) market and its benefits, according to latest research.
The research was carried out by Ndemanyiswa Mbise at five border posts late last year.
Results show that women perceive the EAC as an institution for high-profile people in the governments only.
This was expressed by women at the border points of Namanga in Arusha Region, Tarime in Mara Region and Mtukula in Kagera Region. As a result, the women fail to or do not bother to understand the operations of the EAC institutions and how they can benefit from it.  
Mbise suggests EAC governments give more insight to the women entrepreneurs.
Commenting on the lack of information, she said generally, women have lower standards of education.
“They lack market information. Men are comparatively better educated and more knowledgeable about issues than women,” she said.
The officials at the border posts also stated that men were more knowledgeable, while women were ignorant and tend to be timid.
Consequently, they fell easily into the traps of corrupt individuals who lurk at these places.  She cited how lack of knowledge of cross-border regulations leads many women to give cash bribes at Namanga.
On credit barriers, Mbise said women reported several reasons that hinder them from accessing loans. She said awareness on availability of bank services has been cited by the women as the major constraint to credit accessibility.
In addition, due to lack of transparency on banking systems, some women are not quite aware of the availability of loans and how to go about getting them.
 She said many women are not aware of cheaper financing institutions.