The Nigerian Export Promotion Council in collaboration with the International Trade Center is looking at generating $38 million worth of sales from the empowerment of women-owned businesses by the year 2020 through an initiative tagged “She Trades”.
“She Trades”, a project of the Commonwealth to deliver better economic returns for Nigerian women entrepreneurs, is aimed at increasing trade, productivity and competitiveness for women both in localized business and international trade.
Segun Awolowo, the chief executive officer, NEPC, speaking at the launch of the programme in Lagos, said the council’s recognition of women as the backbone of all economies spurred the partnership on integrating them into the economic layout of Nigeria by connecting them to global trade.
He noted that Nigerian women supply approximately 70 percent of agricultural labour, 50 percent of animal husbandry activities and 60 percent of food processing but have access to only 20 percent of available agricultural support.
Over 850 million women around the world are at the margins of the economy, unable to contribute their full potential. In 90 percent of economies, there is at least a legal obstacle to women economic participation which ranges from the ease of registering a company to the ability to inherit assets, according to a World Bank report.
It has also been found that sociocultural norms also constitute a huge impediment to women’s participation in economic activities.
Other barriers hampering women’s maximum involvement in global trade include financial gaps as women entrepreneurs have unmet financing needs of up to $320 billion each year, according to a study.
Others include access to digital technologies as in developing countries, women are on average 31 percent less likely to have access to the internet than men.
Story by Temitayo Ayetoto & Chukwuemeka Obioma