In a move to support and encourage female entrepreneurship in rural areas, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources and the Oman Development Bank on Monday signed a memorandum of cooperation to develop a financing programme for rural womencalled Rifi (‘rural’ in Arabic).
The agreement was signed by H E Dr Saud bin Hamoud bin Ahmed al Habsi, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, and Abdul Azim bin Abbas al Bahrani, chairman of Oman Development Bank.
The bank confirmed that the programme targets facilitating around 800 women entrepreneurs.
‘The cost of the programme is more than RO12mn. It is expected that the bank will provide financing of about RO10mn during the next five years,’ read a statement.
The programme aims to enable women who are looking to launch their agricultural and livestock projects and to benefit from the incentives and packages provided by the ministry and easy funding from the bank.
The programme also aims to localise advanced agricultural industries, enhance and increase the contribution of rural women’s projects to the gross domestic product, increase facilities for rural self-employment, develop the agricultural sector, and facilitate access to finance for women entrepreneurs in agricultural work.
The objectives of Rifi have been aligned with the objectives of the agricultural and rural development strategy for 2040, which aims to provide value-added financing to small and emerging enterprises.