Through the First Bank of Nigeria, the government of the United Kingdom claims to have started a $100 million program to fund women-owned businesses in the continent’s largest economy directly.
This was stated by Catriona Laing, the British high commissioner to Nigeria, on Wednesday at the gender and inclusion summit held in Abuja by the Policy Innovation Center (PIC).
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Connecting the dots for a gender-inclusive society served as the summit’s theme. According to Laing, the investment was made as part of the UK’s three “Es” projects, which include ending violence against women and girls, empowering women, and educating girls.
e UK has three areas focusing on gender. She said the three “Es” were empowering women, educating girls, and putting an end to violence against women and girls.
For many years, the UK has focused on improving education, particularly in north-east Nigeria, where we have helped 1.4 million more girls enroll in school.
In terms of empowerment, we recently introduced a $100 million program through the First Bank of Nigeria that will [provide] direct funding specifically to women-owned businesses.
Laing went on to say that gender rights are fundamental human rights to which everyone is entitled.
On the other hand, he claimed that certain social, religious, and behavioral norms are used as justifications for not advancing gender equality.
Laing claims that the UK government is also digitizing cash transfers and humanitarian services so that women can receive money directly into their bank accounts, increasing their financial independence.
The United States ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, urged the Nigerian government and its international allies to prioritize streamlining policies that would close gender parity gaps.
Leonard asserts that because the US government places a high priority on gender issues, it allocates more than $200 billion annually to the programming of gender issues and equality around the world.
According to her, the US mission in Nigeria works to support a culture that encourages women to succeed, addresses issues that prevent women from advancing, and gives Nigerian women the tools they need to follow in their footsteps.
“The upcoming elections in 2023 offer a vital opportunity to increase the number of women in positions of leadership in the government.
Additionally, we urge women to think about running for office at all levels of government in future elections in addition to casting their ballots on election day.
We have a chance to urge candidates to prioritize laws and policies that benefit women and girls during this election season.
Osasuyi Dirisu, deputy director of PIC, spoke on behalf of the organization and outlined its work in a number of policy areas, including accountability and transparency, health, human capital, gender and social policy, financial and digital inclusion, and human capital.
We’re at the summit in the hopes of formalizing the idea, giving interested parties a chance to get together, have frank discussions about gender, and advance the cause of greater gender equality in Nigeria, the speaker said.