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How three million women entrepreneurs can hit global markets by 2021


Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg

As the quest for diversity and inclusion gains momentum in maritime, key operators in the sector have charted a path to the possibility of having over three million women entrepreneurs in the global market by 2021.

The Head, Maersk Marketing and Business Development, Africa region, Anita De Werd, acknowledged the importance of diversity and inclusion for the development of the maritime sector.

De Werd, who delivered a goodwill address at the 2019 World Maritime Day, in Lagos, said: “We know that in order to fulfil our role in society as enablers of global trade, we need to advocate for women to have a seat at the table in our organisation and ensure women entrepreneurs have access to global trade.”


She said Maersk has developed a partnership agreement with She-Trades, an initiative from the International Trade Centre, to connect three million women entrepreneurs to the global markets by 2021.

De Werd commended Nigerian women operating in the maritime industry for being the standard bearers for the African continent.

She said: “To Maersk, being a diverse and inclusive organisation makes us stronger, more resilient and insightful. It helps us to understand the present, better anticipate the challenges and opportunities that may arise in the future and better manage the transformation we are leading in the maritime industry.

“In some of the programmes we are addressing the issue of unconscious bias. We all have unconscious biases, and without being aware we can unconsciously exclude people that are different or seen as ‘outsiders’ who don’t ‘fit the mould’. We are working on making the unconscious, conscious for our leaders.”

She also mentioned that the shipping line was keen on bringing African women on board of its leadership teams through its Africa Leadership Development programme, “where 65 per cent of participants are now heading up managerial roles in countries in Africa.”

An official of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Dikko Bala, said the group is committed to supporting countries to achieve the UN gender sustainable development goals as regards gender equality.

He recommended among other things that to support women, all female cadet in maritime academy should as a matter of policy be sponsored, and female champions should have five girls they mentor.

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