UnitedSteppers 4 Christ

No. 1 Dancers' website in Nigeria

Charting path for women’s financial inclusion

Charting path for women’s financial inclusion

2 October, 2020

Despite women’s widely acknowledged role in ensuring inclusive economic growth, they still lack access to financial services. But, at the just-concluded United Nations General Assembly, the Centre for Health Sciences Training, Research and Development (CHESTRAD), an international non-profit organisation, held a side event to discuss various ways to ensure financial inclusion for women. DANIEL ESSIET reports.

 

FOR women entrepreneurs across many countries, including Nigeria, access to the much-needed capital to embark on productive ventures and lift themselves out of poverty remains a challenge.

However, the Centre for Health Sciences Training, Research and Development (CHESTRAD), an international non-profit organisation headquartered in Lagos, appears determined to reverse the trend.

To this end, the Centre held a webinar to discuss women’s economic empowerment and how to ensure financial inclusion for them. The conference zeroed on expanding women’s access to financial services as a pathway to reducing poverty and improving economic outcomes.

For the organisation, women’s access to financial services enables them to increase financial resilience, and raise productive capacity. This, invariably, contributes to economic growth and reduces inequality and poverty.

The virtual conference brought together international experts and participants from the private and public sectors, as well as development organisations to discuss the barriers that women face, identify measurable goals, and brainstorm on policy-focused solutions.

Themed “From aid to trade: Transformation of African financing for children, girls and women,” the session was moderated by the Executive Director, Public Health Partnerships, Merck & Co Inc., Joan Benson.

CHESTRAD founder Dr. Lola Dare said at the centre of the discussion were the sustainability of financing for women and the availability of data to ensure no one is left behind.

She said the organisation was working with partners to prepare and implement women’s financial empowerment programmes to focus on both girls and women by introducing financial literacy awareness.

Using its new initiative ‘Tariro’, a health and financial inclusion programme, Dare said children, girls and women were given access to financial and health products and services.

While blended financing is one way to ensure sustainable financing for women and children, the Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BoI), Nigeria, Olukayode Pitan, said other financial solutions should be explored

He said the economic situation aggravated by the global COVID-19 pandemic has made access to health insurance for women and children almost impossible. He, therefore, suggested that corporate organisations should be encouraged to look at aspects of healthcare they can support.

“Whatever they are able to put into that area, then we can have some tax rebates from the government. They can get financing that is cheap and sustainable over time. And you can actually get into partnership with governments,” Pitan said.

The BoI boss also recommended community involvement in religious sectors. According to him, faith-based organisations can make a big impact on communities through development activities that support women and others.

He expressed his belief that faith-organisations have a mission to bring spiritual and social transformation in their operational communities.

The Practice Manager for Global Financing Facility (GFF), Monique Vledder, also supported the use of   blended financing. Vledder, who was one of the panelists, said: “It is not always that private sector investments have the same equity that we have collectively.

“So, by blending grant financing and private sector financing, we (GFF) have been able to focus more on those marginalised populations that have been left behind to ensure that there is quality health care.”

Vledder, however, noted that it is important to identify women who are paying out of their pockets for services that are usually not given to them in high quality. That way, such women will not have a financial burden on getting these services.

The Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Investor, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Sancia Dalley, also agreed that blended financing is one way to sustain financial support for women.

She noted that supporting blended finance will help more women enter the business space and launch their own businesses and Tariro is moving in the right direction to achieve that.

She emphasised that the government must lead the charge on a regulatory and supervisory framework to address women’s financial inclusion.

The Chief Executive Officer of PACT, a non-profit international development organisation, Caroline Anstey, observed that the past few years have seen a downturn of events for financial support for women. Instead of more money flowing in, she said more are flowing out.

“At the same time, we know that the good news is that the world is changing, and a lot of private sectors or private investors are looking differently at how they want to measure environment social governance. They’re looking differently at how they measure returns,” Anstey said, adding that the onus is on organisations to look for bankable projects that will attract the private sector.

The Chairman, Board of Trustees at United Way Worldwide, Dr. Juliette M. Tuakli, stressed the need for a complete picture of the gap in women’s financial inclusion to be able to close it – and data is critical to this. She called for concerted efforts to increase women’s access to and use of financial services.

The Senior Vice-president Health, Rockefeller Foundation, Naveen Rao, identified the gender inequality that exists in data tools and science.

“When it comes to gender and data in health, we see this inequality starkly in high maternal and child mortality rates. Right now, the recorded average is 144 maternal deaths. It’s going to get worse because COVID-19 has disrupted so many essential services,” Rao said, adding that the class divide in the future will not be about wealth but access to data.

The General Manager, Lagos State Health Management Agency, Emmanuella Zamba, said it is very critical to look at ways the financial inclusion can penetrate the informal sector which is what the government is doing with Tariro.

She stated that the state government also has community commercial partnerships with two financial service providers to ensure that vulnerable communities have access to healthcare services.

Other panelists included the Director, Business Development, Soft Alliance and Resources Limited, Feyi Agagu; Medical Director, CHILDAccra, Juliette Tuakli and Managing Director Lotus Capital, Hajara Adeola.

CHESTRAD Global is a leading African-led social enterprise with network members across Africa, Europe and the Americas, as well as country partners in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

With a focus on Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) as classified by the World Bank, CHESTRAD Global’s mission is to harness multi-sector evidence, approaches and partnerships to sustainably finance and deliver global public goods in Africa

NDE trains 50 women on spice production

As part of efforts to reduce unemployment in the country, the Federal Government through the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Rivers State, has commenced the training of 50 women on spice production in Port Harcourt.

NDE Director-General Dr. Nasir Ladan Argungu explained that the training was aimed at making Nigerians to be self-employed and also employ others.

Argungu, represented at the opening session of the training by the Rivers State NDE Director, Mr. Felix Kpegasine, said: “The Federal Government believes in self-employment, not in persons carrying files from office to office in search of jobs.

“The NDE as an agency of the Federal Government is training you to be self-sufficient and be your own boss, thereby being able to train others too.”

Kpegasine said over time, the NDE Rivers State would be training more than 200 women on cosmetology, 200 women on skills acquisition, to reduce poverty.

He called on trainees to be dedicated so that the NDE would be able to have good report that has affected their lives.

Also, wife of the Minister of Transportation, Dame Judith Ameachi, said: “Women are being reckoned with in food production chain, which was why the Federal Government took interest in their training through the NDE on spice production.”

Dame Ameachi, who was represented by Dame Murine Tamuno, said she would continue to partner NDE Rivers State to reach out to more women in various skills acquisition.

The President, Rivers State Women Association of Nigeria (RISWAN) Mrs. Helen Odum, thanked the Federal Government and the NDE for putting the prgramme in place for women to benefit, saying that “Women industrious persons would make good of this great opportunity given to them by the Federal Government.”

She pledged the association’s support of the Federal Government’s effort at giving the best three participants in the training N50, 000 for the first position, N30, 000 for the second best and N20, 000 for the third best trainee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Charting path for women’s financial inclusion appeared first on Smart9jaMedia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: