The 2nd Africa Women Innovation & Entreprenurship Forum [AWIEF 2016] was held at The Civic Center, Victoria Island Lagos.
Lagos State Government at the event, promised to train women in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to help them accelerate growth of their businesses.
Lola Akande, Commissioner, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Lagos State, who represented Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of Lagos State, In her keynote welcome address at the event which focused on “Accelerating Women’s Economic Empowerment in Africa’s Best Interest”, the Commissioner told participants that “Lagos state firmly believes that women’s economic empowerment is a crucial pillar of sustainable development and poverty alleviation, and the achievement goals”, while expressing delight in the partnership with AWIEF.
“We are therefore delighted to partner with AWIEF as we collectively take positive strides to development solutions to the current global economic downturn through gender equality and inclusiveness. We are also delighted to know that this forum will feature the first discuss on the implementation and modalities for accessing the $300 million and formulating finance actions for women in Africa”, Akande told the AWIEF 2016 forum.
According to the Lagos State Commissioner, “with over 10 million women between the ages of 16 and 60 in Lagos State, representing single largest population of women entrepreneurs in Africa, you can be rest assured that your investment in the women will fascinate the women of Nigeria, and indeed, the women of Africa will be an inestimable legacy for the work and dedication of your organisation on the African continent.”
She also highlighted the various steps that have been taken globally in the empowerment of women saying, “The World Bank gender equality action plan exquisitely recognizes growth development benefits of women’s economic empowerment. This has been the point of global discussions for decades. Organizations like AWIEF, as well as the Africa Development Banks and are formulating finance actions for women in Africa and for a product of this global discussions.
She reaffirmed the state’s commitment to the socio-economic empowerment of women. “Women entrepreneurs, including those in the informal sector are major contributors to the growth of the Lagos economy. We will therefore recognise the need to encourage them through gender simplicity policies and programmes that will enhance their productivity and capacity to earn more income.
“Some of the initiatives being implemented through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, include skill acquisition training programmes in various locations and the supply of machines and equipment to ease the process of establishing small scale businesses.
“In addition to the employment trust fund to which women entrepreneurs have equal access to finance viable business ideas, the Dangote Foundation is collaborating with the state government”, she added, stressing that women empowerment must be approached comprehensively given the inter-relationship between the various variables that determine the total value of the African Women.
“I am hopeful that this forum will develop a framework that can be integrated into existing policies to expand economic opportunities for women. I believe this is the right thing to do, as doing otherwise will mean inadvertently undermining the prospects of achieving our full potentials for sustainable economic growth”, Akande told the forum.
Photo Credit: Ralph Photography for KanyiOkeke.com