African business women seek higher leadership role
NIGERIAN banks and corporate organizations have been advised to increase the number of women in economic leadership by promoting qualified women to fill 30 percent of bank board seats and 40 percent of top bank management positions in accordance with Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, policy by January 1, 2015.
This was the consensus of speakers at the African Business Women's advocacy forum organised by Women in Management, Business, and Public Service, WIMBIZ, in partnership with Vital Voices Global Partnership-led Supporting Public Advocacy for Regional Competitiveness, SPARC, held at the Sheraton Hotel, Oniru estate, Victoria Island, Lagos last week, with the theme Women’s Leadership: Why Africa is Rising.
Speaking at the event, Alyse Nelson, CEO and President, Vital Voices said: “Vital Voices recognizes that women are powerful engines of economic growth and social change. Through SPARC, Vital Voices and partner businesswomen’s associations are working together to enable women to fully participate in their economies.”
Adeola Azeez, Chairperson, WIMBIZ said: ““The SPARC program through WIMBIZ is using advocacy tools to sensitize the general public and seeks possible legislative change to deal with on the issue women representation on the socio-economic decision making processes in Nigeria. WIMBIZ will partner with other advocacy groups, media and consultants who would support the expansion of socio-political and economic space for women in Nigeria.”
More than 100 African business men and women were in attendance to examine the role that African women play in Africa’s economic growth and ways that the private and public sector can encourage and support women’s economic leadership. The forum featured a keynote address from Obiageli Ezekwesili, and was followed by two panels focusing on the value of women’s leadership in Africa’s private sector and the impact of government investment in women.
The SPARC program, launched in 2012 by Vital Voices, brings together public and private sector leaders from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa to develop, strengthen and officially launch targeted advocacy campaigns designed to address relevant barriers, increase women’s economic engagement in the labor force and entrepreneurship and contribute to poverty alleviation over all.
The public forum highlighted the critical work that businesswomen’s associations in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa are doing to remove key economic barriers for women. In Nigeria,
The Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWASA) is working to create a more enabling environment for South African women in business by recruiting Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed corporations as signatories to the Charter for Women’s Economic Empowerment, therefore preparing corporate South Africa for compliance with the forthcoming Economic and Gender Equality Bill. In Uganda, Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Limited (UWEAL) is working to increase women in agriculture’s access to Agricultural Technology and Agribusiness Advisory Services (ATAAS) resources. The Kenya Association of Women Business Owners (KAWBO) aims to increase the access of women entrepreneurs to government contracts by ensuring enforcement of 2011 Preference and Reservations Regulations.