The Minister of state for industry, trade and investment, Maryam Katagum, has requested that Nigerian banks should prioritise women in their credit facility.
Katagum urged the creditors to create gender desk that will cater to lending needs of women, while asking that companies should also increase their female-focused investment.
She made this known during the second series of the African Women Trade Conference 2022, where she was represented by Director of commodity and export department of the Ministry, Suleiman Audu.
The minister also requested the inclusion of more women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
“Preparation for gender inclusion in national AfCFTA strategies and policies. Companies have to invest in women directly by integrating gender policies and practices with global diversity.
“Banks should set up gender desks with a view to going the extra mile in identifying and prioritising targets of potential women borrowers as a platform for ascertaining and providing financial empowerment from African Development Bank to support women-led Farmers Based Associations and MSMEs to promote agriculture in certain African countries.
Greater efforts need to be made to provide women with access to technical education and on-the-job training.
“Targeted entrepreneurship training can help women entrepreneurs grasp the opportunities that open markets create and calibrate their businesses toward those opportunities through creativity and innovation.
“With the launch of trading under the ACFTA in January 2021, the expectations are high as relates to the expanded business prospects for women-led businesses, which will unlock the potential for African women to grow their businesses from micro to macro enterprises.”