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April 19, 2024
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IWD: Experts seek accelerated investment in women for economic progress

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By Rukayat Moisemhe

Economic experts have advocated the need for focused and accelerated investments in women and their businesses to engender societal and economic progress.

They gave the advice at the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) 2024 International Women’s Day event, themed, “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” on Wednesday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event is to commemorate the global International Women’s Day Celebration which holds annually on March 8.

The President of NBCC, Mr Ray Atelly, said that more than ever, achieving gender parity and women’s well-being in all spheres of life was essential to build thriving economies and a healthy world.

Atelly said that the current major challenge was an alarming 360 billion dollars annual deficit for developing countries to address gender equality measures by 2030, under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He stated that in spite of these challenges, it had become important to advocate and invest in the human rights of women and each girl child.

This, he noted, helped in fostering a world where women can inhabit without violence, pressure, or prejudice and are saddled with governance, and administrative roles based on their performance.

“We encourage stakeholders to aid in advancing gender equality in our work and supporting female leaders in making a difference by enhancing their professional influence and impact in diverse sectors,” he said.

Mrs Tinuade Awe, Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NGX Regulation Ltd., stated that investing in women resources and opportunities would foster personal and economic advancement.

Awe stressed the need to ensure that financial assets were accessible to women.

She said that their economic participation and ownership of productive assets contributed significantly to development acceleration, poverty alleviation, inequality reduction, and in children’s well-being.

“Think not only about securing financial gains for them but also about recognising their rights, breaking down barriers that limit them, and creating a world where all women can thrive.

“By empowering women economically and providing opportunities for entrepreneurship and leadership, institutions can not only benefit from increased consumer spending but also contribute to gender equality and economic growth.

“Therefore, acknowledging and investing in women’s influence in consumer markets is essential for fostering a more inclusive and prosperous society,” she said.

Awe also emphasised the need to raise awareness, invest in data and research to inform action, set targets and metrics, challenge bias and stereotypes.

She said the country must be promoting gender lens investing, provide financial incentives such as tax breaks, credit guarantee wraps among others and support female entrepreneurs.

Mrs Adesuwa Okunbo-Rhodes, Founder, Aruwa Capital Management, stressed the need to take bold actions to close the funding gap for women-owned businesses.

She said the deep-seated unconscious bias over the performance of women when providing finance for their business must be addressed.

Okunbo-Rhodes stated the need to have more women in investment leading roles to overcome these biases.

“Beyond empowerment, women need to be invested in.

“Investing in women means you are generating 2.5 times in dollars more than when you do same in men.

“It has been observed that women pay back their loans, so, we need to improve their lives in underserved communities by better healthcare among other facilities,” she said.

Also, Mr Adeniyi Adekoya, Deputy Managing Director, Synerpet and Weston Ltd., stressed the importance of investing in women, helping them grow their career and rise to become all they could be instead of the unconscious bias that came with investing.

He added that gender equality must be part of the vision and mission statement of any organisational structure to drive home the message. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Vivian Ihechu

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