WIMAFRICA Conference to Canvass for Gender Equality, Women Empowerment

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Mary Nnah

As part of support for the African Union’s 2063 agenda, which is to achieve “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”, a non-profit organisation, Women in Maritime, Africa (WIMAFRICA), is spearheading an event that will bring about a convergence of people from different African countries.

This is particularly in alliance with WIMAFRICA’s mission to facilitate gender equality, women empowerment as well as to establish a cooperation of entrepreneurship development of African Women in the Maritime Sector.

The WIMA second Continental Conference and AGM scheduled for October 29 and 30 at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos with the theme, “Trade Facilitation for African Integration – Prospects and Challenges”, will serve as an avenue to promote cooperation and collaboration between national, regional and international organisations to advance Africans in general and particularly, women in the Maritime sector.

Speaking on the forthcoming conference, President, WIMAFRICA, Nigeria Chapter, Mrs. Jean Chiazor Anishere who also serves as the First Vice President of WIMAFRICA, said it will plunge WIMAFRICA to the Nigeria society.
She said: “Many industry big wigs in Nigeria do not know much about WIMAFRICA”, adding that the group, which is just four years old and barely one year in Nigeria, is not yet well known in Nigeria.

On how WIMAFRICA has supported the AU vision, she said, “The African Union (AU) has a vision for 2063, which is sustainability of the Africa’s blue economy; how best the safety and the cleanliness of African’s oceans and seas can be.
“So, WIMAFRICA is all about supporting African Union in its vision 2063, which is to help to sustain Africa’s blue economy.”

And coming back home, the group has a team of sisters who are the executive body of WIMAFRICA Nigeria, believing in the AU’s vision and working assiduously to ensuring that it is achieved.

She said: “When we set up the site, we had earmarked 200 people for the conference, but right now we have sold out our seats, excluding the VIPs who are not going to register online and so we had to close the registration.
“It is heart-warming to note that a lot of women have been calling out for membership forms, so after the conference, we would be counting like up to 80 women joining WIMA Nigeria.”

The conference will also have Anishere relinquish her dual positions, as she takes over the mantel of leadership as the WIMAFRICA President for the whole of Africa.

She said: “Happily, Nigeria is going to be honoured to take over the mantle of office as the president for the whole of the African women and not just for the Nigeria chapter. So a Nigerian is going to be president for the 22 African states.

“That for me is an achievement and it is important for other African countries to know the country of their new present and it is important for our country to know the importance of the office which is going to be bestowed on her.

“Finally, it is also for us to see how we can use the office of the president of WIMAFRICA to the benefit of the industry in Nigeria and also our country, Nigeria at large. So, Nigeria now needs to see how it can take a benefit of that office particularly as the office is now being held by one of its citizens.”

Recapping her successes during her tenure she said: “In one year, we have been able to grow WIMAFRICA Nigeria to a strength of 65 members from just 10 members. Within one year, we have identified women in the fishing community in Makoko area of Lagos and we have actually paid a deposit to purchasing a fish oven for the women.

“We are going to make the presentation before October 29. Also in one year, we have set up advisory board comprising six prominent Nigerian women, these include Manging Director, Nigeria Port Authority, Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman; Abuja MOU Secretary General, Mrs Mfon Ekong Usoro; Director Legal Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mrs. Ijeoma Uche-Okoro; Princess Vicky Haastrup, Chairman of ENL Consortium amongst others.

“Within one year have a constitution and we have registered the association with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja. Now, we have a chapter in Abuja to start with and we are still counting and here we are, hosting the second continental conference right here in Lagos, Nigeria and it promises to be a huge event.”