Posted by News Express | 14 July 2016 | 2,943 times
Leading African businessman and philanthropist, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, joined the First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Buhari and wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, at a forum and exhibition on Nigerian Women in Export which was held in Abuja.
Themed ‘Achieving Zero Oil Growth Through Women Inclusiveness in Global Export Trade’, this year’s Stakeholders Forum and Exhibition is organised by the National Export Promotion Council and the International Trade Center (ITC) in Geneva. The Women in Export Stakeholders Forum and Exhibition seeks to increase economic empowerment of women through trade via the ITC’s SheTrades Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to connect one million women to the international market by 2020.
The event was staged in partnership with the International Trade Centre’s commitment to enable one million women venture into trading and mobilising women to market, and incurring services from women.
Mrs. Buhari in her keynote address expressed full support for the initiative, increasing the Nigerians target from 100,000 to 200,000 out of the 1million people targeted by the scheme.
She said: “When a woman gets it right consider everything done.”
Mrs. Buhari promised to persuade the Federal Government to make favorable public procurement policies for 20 percent of women in trade.
Business tycoon and philanthropist Tony Elumelu, who graced the event, pledged to ensure gender parity in the disbursement of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Fund.
“Women put everyone else first, if women succeed, the entire continent succeeds. On behalf of the Elumelu Foundation, we shall promote and create sufficient awareness and make sure they change the statistics of the Elumelu fund to 50-50 ratio male and female,” he pledged.
Managing Director/CEO Stanbic IBTC Bank, Sola David Borha, gave her support to the scheme assuring of her bank’s commitment to rendering financial assistance to the scheme. She said: “Stanbic IBTC is committed to ensuring access to finance as well as financial advisory council for women to succeed, as a non-interest window banking plan to finance women in export and trade in collaboration with Google.”
Dr. Stella Okoli, a Nigerian Pharmacist and entrepreneur, who was also present at the event, called for immediate action, saying that one million people that were initially programmed for the scheme can be increased to 5 million people with the aid of the digital age. “Women should know what is happening through digitization. Women should make Nigeria proud, Nigerian women are very hard working. In the pharmaceutical industry, I urge more women to join the chemical and engineering industry,” she advised. She later called on women to focus on other areas. “They shouldn’t restrict themselves to one thing.”
Mrs. Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director International Trade Centre, also applauded NEPC efforts towards launching the SheTrades in Nigeria. She called for gender equality for women in sectors such as Mining and Engineering.
The wife of the Vice President also voiced her support for the scheme as she believes with the support of present government it is possible for women to support in business. She called for a speedy implementation of the SheTrades concept.
A letter of intent was later signed for the call to action of SheTrades by the MD/CEO of NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, and Gonzalez. Elumelu also signed a partnership with ITC, which would create more opportunities for more women in business.
•Photo shows Tony O. Elumelu and other dignitaries unveiling the SheTrades logo.
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