Ecobank Nigeria has moved into strong partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and The Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) on the ‘The Nigeria2Equal gender programme.
The partnership is targeting the reduction of gender gaps across employment and entrepreneurship in the Nigerian private sector.
The program is the first multi-stakeholder country project focused on ensuring equality within Nigerian companies. It is organized in three components i.e. research, peer learning platform and firm level support to companies.
Speaking at the virtual launch on Friday, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan, said Ecobank has policies and structures in place that promote gender balance in its employment.
Akinwutan, who was represented by the Head, Consumer Banking, Korede Demola-Adeniyi, stated that the bank also has many initiatives and innovative products targeted at empowering and sustaining female entrepreneurs in Nigeria such as ‘Ellevate’ and ‘Ecobank Female Entrepreneurs Initiative (EFEI)’, which are designed to empower and support female owned small-scale businesses.
“As a bank. we have deliberately focused on supporting women leaders within Ecobank. In Ecobank Nigeria 46 per cent of our workforce are women, 54 per cent of the Exco members are women. We have four regions in Nigeria, three Regional Heads are women, including the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director.
We also institutionalized our Group’s advice to all affiliate to ensure that the board representation across all affiliates has a minimum of 30 per cent women representation. That has the potential to be exceeded in a short time. Facing the market, we launched the Elevate program. It is dedicated to women-owned businesses and companies that employ women as majority of their work force. We have plans to empower 40 million female entrepreneurs in the next few years with this program. So, it is all encompassing.” She stated.
In her welcome address, Regional Gender Lead, Africa, IFC, Anne Njambi Kabugi, said the objective of Nigeria2Equal Gender Program is to work with the private sector to reduce gender gaps across employment and entrepreneurship, adding that the approach is to combine in-depth client work with peer learning to share best practices and create market learning. She disclosed that the program which will last for about two and half years will focus on investigating gender balance in leadership and workplace; equal compensation and work life balance; policies promoting gender equality as relates to commitment, transparency, and accountability among others. She added that participating companies are expected to make two specific, measurable and time bound commitments to reduce gender gaps across leadership, employment, and entrepreneurship in the corporate value chain.
The initiative has 18 partners in 10 sectors which cuts across Banking and Finance, Construction, FMCG, Food Manufacturing, Hospitality, Insurance, Logistics, Oil & Gas, Ride hailing, Telecommunication.