Presidency, Elumelu partner on women empowerment initiative
The Presidency, through the office of the First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Buhari and wife of the Vice President of Nigeria, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo has partnered with African businessman, Tony Elumelu, on an initiative to boost potential of Nigerian women in export.
Themed ‘Achieving Zero Oil Growth Through Women Inclusiveness in Global Export Trade’, the stakeholders forum and exhibition organised by the National Export Promotion Council and the International Trade Center (ITC) in Geneva, explored measures to increase economic empowerment of women through trade via the ITC’s SheTrades Initiative.
Indeed, the goal of this initiative is to connect one million women to the international market by 2020.First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari and Ms. Arancha Gonzalez, the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC) stated that, “Nigerian women are extremely hardworking. We only need a little push, and this is the time”.
Buhari further called on the public sector to support the initiative, saying: “I would like to lead a call to the Federal Government to assign 20 per cent of public procurement to women-owned businesses.”
Chairman of Heirs Holdings, United Bank for Africa and Transcorp Plc, Elumelu stated that the capacity of women in the private sector to contribute to the development of the country was underestimated.
“Africa is in need of economic and social development and investing in women is one of the smartest ways to go about it. It is for this reason that the SDGs have focused on women empowerment as a necessary commitment in alleviating poverty.
“When a woman does well, her entire family does well. We need to put women first. I am proud to say that full and equal participation of women is an important internal objective of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme”, he added.
Representing the private sector, Elumelu was joined by Mrs. Buhari and Mrs. Osibanjo, where he signed a Call-To-Action through partnership with The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Africa’s global bank, UBA, to drive up the statistics of female participation in the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme from 70:30 (male/female) representation in 2016 to 60:40 in 2017 and 50:50 by the year 2020.
He also sought partnerships to commission the production of in-depth research publications and case studies focused on solutions to unique challenges facing women entrepreneurs.