Home » How Nigeria Plans to Empower Women Entrepreneurs and Formalise Their Businesses

How Nigeria Plans to Empower Women Entrepreneurs and Formalise Their Businesses

by Victor Adetimilehin

Nigeria is taking steps to promote women entrepreneurship development and formalisation in the country, with the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). A validation workshop was held in Abuja on Thursday to present a roadmap and monitoring framework that will address the barriers and opportunities for women entrepreneurs, especially in Lagos and Rivers states.

The roadmap, developed under an ILO-funded project, covers six technical topics and three cross-cutting areas, such as gender-sensitive legal and regulatory system, effective policy leadership and coordination, access to financial and business development services, access to markets and technology, representation of women entrepreneurs and participation in policy dialogue, emergency preparedness and response, oversight, monitoring and implementation, and research, data and management.

The workshop brought together stakeholders from 23 institutions, including the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the Bureau of Public Procurement, the Joint Tax Board, the Bank of Industry, the Keystone Bank, the Abuja Enterprise Agency, the National Directorate of Employment, the Federation of Informal Workers’ Organization of Nigeria, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, the Women Consortium of Nigeria, the Women in Business (WIMBIZ), the Pan African Women Empowerment of Nigeria (PAWEN), the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, the National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office, the National Health Insurance Authority, the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, the Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning, and the Bank of Agriculture.

The participants expressed their commitment to work collaboratively to ensure the implementation of the roadmap and requested the ILO’s continued support. They also shared their experiences and best practices on how to support women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

According to the ILO Country Director for Nigeria, Ms Vanessa Fala, women in Nigeria have a high interest in becoming entrepreneurs, but face challenges related to the business and regulatory environment, including access to resources and opportunities. She said that when these challenges are lifted, women-led enterprises will unleash their potential to generate decent jobs and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.

The Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr Wale Fasanya, said that women entrepreneurs make up about 60 per cent of the 39.6 million MSMEs in Nigeria and play a vital role in sustaining the livelihoods of their families and communities. He said that the strategic document developed by the ILO and SMEDAN will ensure that women entrepreneurs are given due recognition and support to take advantage of the huge opportunities that exist in the global market.

The workshop was part of the activities to mark the International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8 every year. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. The theme highlights the efforts of women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ILO and SMEDAN have been working together since 2022 to promote gender equality and formalization through women’s entrepreneurship development in Nigeria. The project is aligned with the ILO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Development programme, which aims to create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs as a means to achieve decent work, economic growth and gender equality.

Source: Taranga News

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