The World Bank Group has approved a loan of $500m to help Nigeria drive women’s empowerment, The PUNCH has learnt.
This became the second loan approved by the World Bank under the new President, Bola Tinubu.
It is a scale-up financing for Nigeria for Women Programme, which was initially approved on June 27, 2018, with $100m financing.
A statement by the World Bank read in part, “The World Bank has approved $500m for Nigeria for Women Program Scale Up (NFWP-SU). The scale-up financing will further support the government of Nigeria to invest in improving the livelihoods of women in Nigeria.
“The NFWP-SU will help to ensure better economic opportunities for women, which is essential for addressing gender inequality; guaranteeing better education, health, and nutrition outcomes for families; and building women’s and communities’ resilience to climate change.”
The World Bank stressed the need for the government to address issues that inhibit women’s economic empowerment and hinder inclusive, low-carbon, and resilient economic growth.
It noted that women’s empowerment is essential to their ability to build resilience to climate change and, by extension, the resilience of their households and communities.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, was quoted as saying, “We have seen promising outcomes from the parent NFWP which has helped to create economic opportunities for thousands of rural women through the Women Affinity Groups. NFWP’s model is helping to improve livelihood opportunities for women and enhancing their capacity to adapt to climate change and to participate in local administrations for policymaking related to community empowerment.
“Closing the gender gap in key economic sectors could yield gains of between $9.3bn and $22.9bn, we are optimistic that this scale-up will help Nigeria to move closer to bridging this gap.”
Also, the Task Team Leader for Nigeria for Women Project, Michael Ilesanmi, said, “The Program aims to mobilize poor and vulnerable women into different institutions and, using these institutional platforms, link them to markets as well as financial and non-financial services. Through participation in Women Affinity Groups, project beneficiaries build social capital that can then be leveraged to access financial, political, and economic capital–thus leading to both social and economic empowerment.”
It was disclosed that NFWP has been implemented in six states and provides support to over 427,887 Women Affinity Groups’ members through the formation and strengthening of 20,506 of these groups.
In about two years, these WAGs have saved about NGN 4bn ($8.9m equivalent), with a significant percentage of these funds in circulation as loans at any given time. So far, 835,573 community members have benefitted from the NFWP through different interventions.