Dangote Wants More Women Appointed to Corporate Boards

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Aliko Dangote

President/Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, has called for the appointment of more women to the boards of corporate organisations in Nigeria to promote the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal, gender equality and economic well-being.

Dangote also advocated for an enhanced empowerment of women across all social strata.

Dangote, who chaired a session on “Gender Equality and Female Empowerment,” made the calls in a welcome/opening address during the 59th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), which was held in Lagos recently with over 12,000 lawyer delegates drawn from NBA’s branches across Nigeria in attendance.

The business mogul, who was represented by the Managing Director of the Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, acknowledged the vital roles played by women at the topmost levels of the Dangote Group, which have contributed to the rapid growth and expansion of the conglomerate across Africa.

Dangote, who is currently the richest man in Africa, acknowledged that there was still a lot of work to be done to ensure gender equality and women empowerment in the nation.

“We will continue to support WCD, the organisation championing Women Corporate Directors in Nigeria. I am also championing a Bill to support the requirement that more women be appointed to corporate boards.

We have seen the type of positive results this has produced in other countries in Europe, Asia and North America. We should explore the same here.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to achieve gender equity in the work place but I am proud of the progress that we are making in Nigeria and in Africa. There is proven positive relationship between female empowerment and overall development. An empowered woman has a healthier more educated and prosperous household.

“I personally understand the value of women and the power of having them involved in all aspects of business, including the boardroom. I was raised by a strong business minded mother, who nurtured and supported my entrepreneurial ambition. My three daughters, Mariya, Halima and Fatima are all senior executives at the Group, and I can tell you for a fact that they are critical to the success of our business. They are not alone at Dangote Industries. We have a strong bench of women leaders across the Group,” Dangote stated.

Women at the top of affairs in the Dangote Group, according to Dangote, include “two women Group Executive Directors, my daughter Halima, who was appointed in 2014, and Dr. Adenike Fajemirokun. The board of NASCON Allied Industries is headed by a woman, Mrs. Yemisi Ayeni, while all other subsidiaries have women as Board members including Dorothy Ufot (SAN), and Cherie Blair CBE, QC at Dangote Cement, Ms. Bennedikter Molokwu at Dangote Sugar, Fatima Aliko Dangote, and Fatima Wali-Abdurrahman at NASCON. A woman, Zouera Youssoufou is the Managing Director of the Aliko Dangote Foundation.

“These are some of the examples of the excellent women that we have, that are doing a great job at the group, and I am confident that they will help drive the Group through its next stage of growth. We are a business organisation where women aspire to the highest positions without hindrance. To aid their career and growth prospects, Dangote Women Network was established as a mentoring and networking forum that enables our female staff to meet regularly as a group.

“We have three remarkable women here who are drawn from the Judiciary, the Senate and the Civil Society sectors, and who will be speaking to us during this session. These include Her Lordship, Justice of the Court of Appeal, Uzo Anyanwu-Ndukwe; Senator Betty Apiafy, and Dr. Abiola Akiyode Afolabi. I look forward to their remarks,” he added.

The session speakers including Justice Anyanwu-Ndukwe, Senator Betty Apiafi, and Dr. Akiyode took turns to call for empowerment of the minority especially the women and girl-child in the rural areas of the country; tackling inequality within the system backed by legislative processes, and focus on security, poverty reduction and improved health, all of which affect women in Nigeria.