Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister for Finance , Dr Ngozi OKonjo-Iweala has called for the creation of a bank that will cater exclusively for the financing need of women. She made this call in a keynote address at the 2nd African Women Economic Summit in Lagos last week.
Meanwhile, The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will launch a special fund for micro, small and medium (MSME) enterprises in October. CBN Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi disclosed this saying fund will replace the old agricultural credit guarantee scheme and 60 per cent of it will be dedicated for women entrepreneurs.
Reiterating the apex bank’s support for women in businesses, he said, “I am not one of those that believe that all men are better than women or that women are better than men. You need both to have diversity on the board. Any board that has a combination of men and women is better than any one that has men only or women only.
The central bank has proposed to set up a micro small and medium enterprises (SME) fund which 60 per cent will be for women empowerment. Hopefully, by October this year, when we all come back from the World Bank meetings, it will be inaugurated.” In her address, Okonjo-Iweala said it is no longer a debate on whether there should be any investment on women, since such investment is the only way to sustain current growth across Africa.
“More than half of women who died during birth are from Africa. African women hold only 26% of small size businesses in sub-Saharan Africa, and on the global front only 15%, which is very low.
‘We are not going to participate fully in growing the economy without access to financing. Inclusion is very important. Unless we do the right thing, we may not be able to move forward as we want. Each one of us here has a responsibility to promote women empowerment,” she said.