‘gender Parity to Fetch Africa Additional $85B Yearly Revenue’

Wed Jun 7th, 2023 -

Experts comprising women executives from Nigeria and other African nations, yesterday, said tapping into potential of females on the continent through deliberate policy that bridges gender inequality and promotes access to finance for businesses would generate additional $85 billion yearly revenue.

The professionals also advanced best practices for addressing barriers against women and getting them to occupy top positions across all sectors of the economy.

They observed that women represent an untapped economic opportunity on the continent. The experts said female CEOs at companies such as East African Breweries and impala Platinum Holdings demonstrate everyday how they can boost their organisation’s profitability.

Studies have, however, shown that gender parity in Africa is stagnating and the private sector is yet to grasp the link between women’s career progression, economic growth and the next generation of African champions.

The connoisseurs, who spoke during a panel discussion on ‘Women Working For Change #From 300 to 3,000: What if tomorrow’s African champions were women?’, harped on inequality in financing.

They raised several posers, including: What tools are there to support businesses run by female entrepreneurs, large companies? How can women’s access to management positions be encouraged? In addition to promoting diversity via engaging the private sector alongside governments and non-governmental organisations.

Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, expressed observed lack of access to quality healthcare, better education and absence of a level playing field between men and women as obstacles to improving women’s impact and economic contribution to Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She said what women needed was not empowerment, but creating huge opportunities for them to thrive.

Group Executive, Consumer Banking, Ecobank, Mrs. Nana Abban, noted that in 2022, women contributed about $350 billion to the continent’s GDP, as statistics revealed that 70 per cent of entrepreneurial businesses were  conducted by women.

She argued that females are more vulnerable to poverty in the society, hence the need to empower, uplift and support them in core areas of health, finance, political participation, among others.

“We need to actively support African women to reach their potential, promote gender equality and diversity inclusion,” Abban added.

Group Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp Plc, Nigeria, Dr. Owen Omogiafo submitted: “We need to be more deliberate about encouraging, facilitating and fostering women participation in business and other areas of life through right policies. In Nigeria, we have maternity leave policy, which is 12 weeks and another one hour at work.

Because it is a policy, the private sector has to fall in line as a labour issue. We need to put policies in place to limit the barriers making it impossible for women to thrive. We need to also be more deliberate about inclusion.”

To Managing Director and Partner, BCG, Zineb Sqalli, gender diversity is not just the right thing, but the smart thing as well.

She said at country level, women are more likely to outperform for companies if gender diversity exists in executive teams.

According to her, private sector has a key role to play to catalyse positive change for women, by acting as a powerhouse, inspiring younger generations, supporting the ecosystem and entrepreneurs.

She said: “Globally, 47 per cent of women are economically active, in Africa, 54 per cent. Venture capital funding to female founder is three per cent globally, and seven per cent in Africa. Why is that deeply entrenched roadblocks in societies and corporate world against women? This can be traced to company culture, unconscious biases, infrastructure and processes.”




source: Guardian