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Nigeria: African Govts Urged to Increase Economic Investments in Women

         Date: 2012-07-20

           Tag: African Govts, African Economic

Summary: National governments across Africa should increase investments in empowerment of the female gender as the region cannot have real development without improvement in the economic and financial status…

National governments across Africa should increase investments in empowerment of the female gender as the region cannot have real development without improvement in the economic and financial status of women.

The Executive Director of New Faces New Voices, Ms Nomsa Daniels, who made the call at the World Press Conference on the just-concluded African Women's Economic Summit highlighted innovations in finance and different initiatives that can be scaled-up to encourage decision makers to strengthen the enabling environment for women.

She said African women play a very important role in nation building and should be given support to contribute more to the development process in the region.

She stated that the challenges militating against the essence of women in Africa include child birth menace, child mortality, poor health services, disparity in education compared to their male counterparts, culture and traditions that relegate women to the background and inaccessibility to credit facilities.

She therefore declared that the era of relegating women to the background in the economic development process of nations in Africa has gone as NFNV has taken the campaign for their economic and financial emancipation upon itself; advising the policy and decision makers in the region to complement the efforts being made by the organisation to boost contributions of women to gross domestic product of their countries.

Reiterating the vision of New Faces New Voices to see women get involved more in the economic make-up of their respective countries; Ms. Daniels said that the extant vacuum of a lack of women in policy management must be filled to enable them assume more participatory roles when issues concerning economic development are discussed.

Corroborating her position, the Vice President/Secretary General, African Development Bank (ADB), Ms. Cecelia Akintomide, stressed the role of women empowerment in inclusive economic development of any nation. In her presentation, Akintomide noted that Africa is not doing enough like other continents in terms of economic agenda for women emancipation.

According to her, women still face challenges of limited education, lack of collateral and inability to own fixed assets, as well as lack of access to information. She explained that those restrictions contributed to the relatively inactive role of women in the formal economy.

She therefore decried the current situation where eighty percent of the continent's Agriculture sector is dominated by women, yet only one percent has proprietary access to landed property. She asserted that the role of women should be recognised, especially as they constitute the third emerging market in the world.

Also speaking at the World Press Conference, the Division Manager of the ADB, Ginette Yoman, said that women entrepreneurs constitute the majority of people at the micro-enterprise level and should be supported to do more.

The prevailing high rate of poverty notwithstanding, she said women actively participate in the nation-building process in Africa.

NFNV's inaugural conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2010 and created a platform to begin a serious dialogue with key stakeholders in the financial sector on how society can invest differently in women.

The two-day conference covered various topics and identified key obstacles that are faced by women in their quest to drive their entrepreneurial and career goals.

AWES 2012 is the second of such event hosted by NFNV, a network of African women in the financial and business sectors.

The network was borne out of an initiative of the Gra?a Machel Trust Multiplying Faces, Amplifying Voices that seeks to unlock the untapped potential that is held by women in Africa.

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