The Department for International Development (DFID), said it invests £250 million yearly for the promotion of programmes anchored on gender equality because it is golden, the Deputy Head of the DFID Office in Nigeria, John Primrose, has said.
He said: “Gender equality is a golden thread through the British Government’s work in Nigeria, including DFID Nigeria’s £250 million spent in this country, whether for humanitarian work in the North East on health, education, governance and of course, economic development.”
He explained that the ‘Propcom” programmes of the Department is aimed at increasing the income of over 120,000 women, out of the 500,000 rural entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers in Northern Nigeria, establish trade links between women involved in crop marketing and private sector exporters without compromising high-quality products.
Primrose hinted this yesterday, in a goodwill message at a two-day SheTrade Policy Dialogue for Women-owned Businesses and Public Procurement in Nigeria, holding in Abuja.
He noted that at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2013, the United Kingdom announced its ambition for gender-responsive trade policy – “She Trades Commonwealth”, stressing that the programme endeavours to make a long-lasting impact to train women entrepreneurs to fully navigate and overcome gender-related trade barriers.
”She Trade has delivered significant progress since its launch in April 2018; it has supported the creation of over 2,0000 jobs, generated £18 million sales for businesses run by female entrepreneurs, among others.“
Besides, Primrose argued that Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita growth could be higher by 1¼ percentage point yearly, if gender inequality is reduced to that of peers in the region, adding that of particular interest trade, as decreasing gender inequality can also help boost economic diversification.
In a welcome address, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo, said the SheTrade programme has encouraged women entrepreneurs to register and make their businesses visible on the platform, leveraging trade as a channel for economic empowerment.
Awolowo said: ”The aim is to connect 200,000 women-owned businesses in Nigeria to international markets, as part of the broader UN-Goal of connecting three million women by 2021.”
According to him, the initiatives equally offer a blueprint of seven global actions including public procurement, to unlock markets for women as well as a digital platform for women entrepreneurs to connect to buyers, investors and new markets.
Awolowo, represented by the NEPC Director, Policy and Strategy, Evelyn Obidike, said: ”I wish to testify that the projects which are still ongoing until May 2020, are very successful in Nigeria, and we appreciate the ITC immensely, after organising a kick-off workshop in Lagos, in June 2018, ShetTrades Commonwealth has focused on delivering results for SMEs owned by women in textiles,
In a brief remark, the Minister of State, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Maryam `Katagun, said as a signatory to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995, Nigeria is committed to gender responsive Procurement and Strategies, to ensure that women have equal access to jobs and contracts.