*Text Box: Announces $50m agro-export fund for women, youths
The Nigerian Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank yesterday announced a partnership with Afreximbank, which it plans to mobilise $50 million Project Preparation Fund for Nigeria to provide technical assistance to bankable Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), including those promoted by women and youths.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NEXIM Bank, Abubakar Abba Bello, made this known in Abuja at the launch of Women and Youth Export Development Fund (WAYEF) with the theme: ‘Unlocking Export Market Opportunities for Women and Youths’.
Bello said the launch of the facility was in commemoration of the 2021 International Women’s Day celebrated globally on March 8.
He added that the project would increase women and youths participation in the global agro-export market.
Bello explained that the bank has provided enormous support for many export-oriented industries that are high employers of women and youths such as cashew, Shea, hibiscus, ginger among others, where a lot of women are involved in cleaning and packaging of the products for export.
He said WAYEF would provide more financial support for women and youths-owned businesses operating in various aspects of the export value chain under a more dedicated and focused arrangement.
According to him, “WAYEF, however, seeks to do more by supporting women and youths-owned businesses operating in the various aspects of the export value chain under a more dedicated and focused arrangement.
“In developing countries in Africa and other continents, discrimination against women is an age-long cultural practice. This underscores the need for us to redouble our efforts towards addressing such cultural practices and other obnoxious beliefs that have imposed limitations on the female gender.
“The male gender needs to understand that we are poorer as a people, and as nations by denying our women equal opportunities.
“Over the years, the bank has provided enormous support for many export-oriented industries that are high employers of women and youths such as cashew, Shea, hibiscus, ginger among others, where a lot of women are involved in cleaning and packaging of products for export.”
In her remarks, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, commended the management of the NEXIM bank for putting together such a facility for the women and youths to benefit from.
She said poverty is a deadly disease afflicting women and youths in the country, most particularly those in the rural areas.
The minister, therefore, called on all female executives in financial institutions and other Nigerians to emulate NEXIM bank and come up with facilities that would empower women and youths who are the most vulnerable segment of the society, to expand their entrepreneurial skills and businesses.