Promoting Women’s Status in Logistics and Transport


Women in Logistics and Transport recently gathered in Lekki, Lagos, where they brainstormed on mentorship. Femi Ogbonnikan who covered the event, reports that participants were mentored on promoting women’s status this all important sector

Undoubtedly, the debut of womenfolk in logistics and transport business is a novelty step, which Nigeria has played a leading role and it is marked as a model which other countries have emulated.

Recently, participants and resource persons from 32 countries converged at Oriental Hotels and Towers, Lekki, Lagos, for the 4th Nigeria Day 2016 conference organised by the Women In Logistics and Transport (WILAT). WILAT has establishment in Sri Lanka, Ghana and other countries.

The major thrust of the conference was to promote the status of women in logistics and transport, to bring together those who support talent and career development of women and to provide support network and mentoring opportunities for women in their sector.

In her welcome address, WILAT Founder/Chairperson, Hajia Aisha Ali-Ibrahim, charged the womenfolk to support their own in various enterprises and also to encourage them to always shoot their ways up to the topmost ladder of their career.

Setting the tone for discussion, Mrs. Gayani De Alwis, Chairperson, WILAT Sri Lanka, in her keynote paper, ‘Mentoring: The Irreplaceable Ladder to Sustainable Development’, made references to the WILAT global strategic thrusts adopted at its 2015 Dubai Conference where leadership, mentorship, entrepreneurship and empowerment, the four hidden potential, have come to play dominant roles.
According to her, four countries, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Singapore, adopted mentorship globally out of 18 countries.

Specifically, she said progress has been made as far as mentoring is concerned.
Mentoring, she stressed, is a leadership experience which allows someone to see hope in his or herself. Other stages of a mentoring relationship identified, include goal attainment, working together, setting expectations and pairing.
“It is our responsibility to support our women. A good leader is like a candle. It removes darkness. You will need to recognise your mentors,” said Alwis.

In her own remarks, Hajia Hadiza Usman, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), lauded the initiative of the WILAT Founder/Chairperson, Hajia Aisha Ali-Ibrahim, noting that the 4th WILAT Nigeria Day 2016 conference would be her first public event to attend, since her assumption of office.

She said mentoring is very close to her heart as it has allowed her to attain the position she has found herself today.

“I am a product of mentoring. Let us open our hearts to mentoring, to pull the young generations together. It is very key to us, as women. In my task as the MD, NPA, I will open my heart to women in my organisation. I will still remain a mentee. Hajia Aisha Ali-Ibrahim has supported me through the years. So, let us reach out to our women. WILAT is the first umbrella body of women in logistics and transport. I have been informed about the roles WILAT play. And I commend you. Your efforts, dedication and commitment are noticed. I will give you my support wherever it is needed. I will provide you with logistics you may require,” Usman said.

In the same vein, Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa, Managing Director, Lelook Nigeria Limited, in her paper, ‘The Role of Logistics and Transport in Trade Facilitation’, said Nigeria is a trade dependent country and hence, the issue of trade facilitation should be of immense concern to it.

“The need for better trade facilitation is recognised by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as an essential system required in today’s business environment. In general business sense, logistics is the right of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption, in order to meet requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics supplies are driven by customer demands that require goods to be delivered to where they are needed on time and in good condition.” she said.

Not left out, Princess Vickky Haastrup, Chairperson/CEO, ENL Consortium, who said, due to the tenacity of purpose and insistence of Hajia Aisha Ali-Ibrahim, that she must attend the conference, which conflicted with her travel plan to overseas, that she had no option than to oblige to honour the invitation and reschedule her travel, at a great cost.

She, however, commended Hajia Aisha Ali-Ibrahim’s resolve to sustain the growth of the organisation, which is fast expanding into other countries and for throwing up more women in the commanding height of the sector.
In recognition of these giant strides, Haastrup pronounced Hajia Aisha Ali-Ibrahim as a Life Patron/President of WILAT.