Historic signing by Zimbabwean and South African women's groups

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Professional Zimbabwean women have formed a joint venture investment vehicle with their South African counterparts in a move that will enable women to buy controlling stakes in major businesses.

The Professional Women, Women Executives and Business Women’s Forum (Proweb) of Zimbabwe and Women Investment Portfolio Holdings Limited (Wiphold) of South Africa came together this week and formed the joint venture investment portfolio.

A two-day trade and investment indaba attended by local and SA business and professional women culminated on Thursday, in the signing of a memorandum of understanding, where Proweb and Wiphold agreed to form the joint venture company.

Proweb president, Florence Ziumbe and Wiphold Chief Executive Officer, Louisa Mojela are the signatories to the MoU.

Ziumbe was upbeat about the partnership as it would be beneficial to both parties.

“Current efforts to turnaround this economy will be incomplete without active participation by women hence our thrust to ensure we complement government efforts,” she said.

Representatives from Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa and Nedbank were also present to give the much needed financial advice and support.

“The Zimbabwean entity will own 51% and Wiphold 49% of the entire issued share capital.

The parties have also identified immediate business opportunities in the mining sector which they have agreed to pursue immediately,” said Ziumbe.

The joint venture company’s main objectives, are to mobilise women’s untapped savings into investment opportunities in the formal sector with women in both rural and peri-urban areas.

At a gala dinner held to celebrate the signing, Deputy Prime Ministers Thokozana Khupe and Arthur Mutambara spoke strongly on government providing further support to women’s initiatives.

Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere speaking at the event said the signing of the two women’s group was a sign that the new 51-49 indigenisation law was working well.

Dr Olivia Muchena was also present and highlighted her effort over the years to empower women.