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March 2, 2024
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Ms Vanessa Phala, ILO’s Country Director to Nigeria

ILO, FG develop roadmap to promote women’s entrepreneurship development

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By Joan Nwagwu

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Federal Government have developed a roadmap to promote women’s entrepreneurship development and formalisation in the country.

Ms Vanessa Phala, ILO’s Country Director to Nigeria, disclosed this at a Validation Workshop on Thursday in Abuja.

The workshop was themed, “A roadmap to foster national conditions for women’s entrepreneurship development and formalisation in Nigeria.”

Phala said that entrepreneurship remained a major driver for economic dynamics.

She said that beyond job creation, entrepreneurs had entered the market with new technologies.

According to her, many Nigerians agree that women and men entrepreneurs encounter similar challenges in their economic activities.

“However, women are faced with an additional set of gender-based barriers that limit their access to resources and opportunities.

“Women’s businesses tend to be smaller and highly concentrated in the informal economy.”

Phala noted that recent survey by Price Water Coopers (PWC) indicated that 41 per cent of micro businesses in Nigeria were owned by women.

Phala added that such a number should not be neglected in socio-economic discourses as they were major drivers.

She however, said that women entrepreneurs had consistently demonstrated resilience and determination to succeed.

Phala said that the constraints came with vast opportunities as the government and other actors had continued to evolve interventions/programmes to support and empower women entrepreneurs.

She said that the ILO was working with the government at all levels to promoted small enterprise development in Nigeria.

“The project has supported the government of Nigeria, through the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Social Partners, and other relevant stakeholders.

“To develop a comprehensive, evidence-based and action-oriented three year roadmap as well as its monitoring framework to drive women’s entrepreneurship development and enterprise formalisation in Nigeria.

“This roadmap addresses existing constraints and tackles new and emerging obstacles that women entrepreneurs may face in an ever-changing economic landscape, among others,” she said.

Also, Mrs Juliana Adebambo, acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment noted that a large number of women in the developing world operated in the informal economy.

Adebambo, represented by Mr Dennis Ejeh from the ministry, said that in Nigeria, the proportion of women involved in entrepreneurship exceeded that of men.

She said the National Gender Policy 2021, showed that women entrepreneurs could play critical roles in enhancing a country’s productivity and development.

“There are lots of interventions, female-focused policies, programmes and initiatives instituted by the government, social partners and private organisations to support women entrepreneurship development.

“However, the effectiveness of these supports on informal businesses is very minimal which is a challenge as most women owned businesses in Nigeria are informal.

“We are happy that the ILO in collaboration with SMEDAN has come up with this noble project,” she said.

She said the ministry would continue to contribute its quota in ensuring Women’s Entrepreneurship Development and Enterprise Formalization in Nigeria.

Also, Mr Olawale Fasanya, Director General, SMEDAN, noted that women entrepreneurs often faced a lot of challenges.

Fasanya said the strategic document (roadmap) developed by ILO, SMEDAN and other stakeholders would ensure that entrepreneurs women were properly positioned.

“That is to take advantage of the huge opportunity that exists in the global market place in terms of accessing funding, capitals for their businesses, among others,” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo

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