Keystone Bank, one of the fastest growing full service commercial banks in Nigeria has expressed satisfaction with the women empowerment programme it undertook at the first ever IAAF silver label road race in West Africa, the Okpekpe International 10km Road Race which came to a historic climax penultimate Saturday in Okpekpe near Auchi in Edo State.

All over the world the issue of women empowerment has continued to take the centre stage in development discuss and it is recognised that empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies and improve the quality of life especially for women, men, families and communities.

The bank’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability, Izore Bamawo, is delighted the globally rated Okpekpe International 10km Road Race offered Keystone Bank a very visible platform to empower about 49 women during its week-long programme in Okpekpe.

”Our focus in Keystone Bank is to empower indigent women through training, education and other forms of learning, to achieve sustainable job creation and income generation in line with the global sustainable development goals,” said Bamawo who also explained why the bank partnered organisers of the Okpekpe road race as the United Nations Organisation has set promotion of gender equality and empower women empowerment as one of its millennium development goals.

“Empowering grassroots and financially excluded women by giving them a voice necessitated the collaboration with the Organisers of Okpekpe road race to empower the women of Edo State and we are quite pleased with the results achieved in this first phase with 49 women trained and empowered to become business leaders. We look forward to replicating these initiatives across Nigeria,” she further said.

Mike Itemuagbor, promoter of the race and chief executive officer of Pamodzi Sports Marketing, organiser of the historic race thanked Keystone Bank for using the platform provided by the first road race in West Africa to be granted a label status by the IAAF.

“IAAF road race label events are races that the IAAF designates as one of the leading road races around the world and Okpekpe is the first to be so designated in West Africa. “We are delighted with the support we enjoyed from Keystone Bank in terms of the women development programme it undertook in Okpekpe, providing them with the basic training they will need to conquer poverty and make them socially and economically relevant in the society,” said Itemuagbor.