Women empowerment can drive economic growth — Finance Minister

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, says that the empowerment of women and girls could drive economic growth and improve development across the globe.

Mrs Ahmed made this known at the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) 2019 International Women’s Day celebration with the theme: “Investing for Equality’’ held in Abuja, the nation’s capital city.

She said that for sustainable growth to be achieved women should be given the requisite support to succeed.

“In the Nigeria context, the factors inhibiting gender equality mirror what is happening on the global scene.

“Women face challenges when it comes to accessing resources, including financial services, property, and other assets.

“It is important that government continues to develop and implement policies, regulatory frameworks, and programmes that are inclusive and gender-sensitive.

“This will help remove the socio-economic and cultural barriers that prevent women from participating fully in society and from reaping the economic benefits of their participation.

“This is especially important given the evidence that gender-neutral policies are often applied in ways that exclude and disenfranchise women stakeholders and other vulnerable communities.

“Women must have a ‘seat at the table’, and be co-creators of any strategic interventions aimed at ensuring gender parity in the long run,” the Minister explained.

Ahmed identified key intervention areas government should focus on to continue to develop and support women in its efforts at investing for equity.

Some of the key areas she identified are access to financing for women-owned businesses, boosting financial inclusion, and financial literacy among women and girls.

She stressed the need to improve human capital development outcomes for women and girls through targeted government spending in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

Peace PIAK