The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) says it has disbursed about N62.5 billion to female entrepreneurs in Nigeria as at February 2022.
Managing Director (MD) of the bank, Mr Tony Okpnachi, disclosed this at the celebration of the International Women’s Day, in Abuja.
According to him, “Gender equity is crucial to meeting development goals, reducing human suffering, and solving our biggest environmental problems”.
Women across the world, he said “continue to suffer from gender inequality, including child labour, forced marriages, gender-based violence, sexist policies, as well as barriers to participation in education and employment”.
The MD said that stereotypes and biases that women contend with included “Women Can’t Be Leaders; Women Are Irrational; Women Can’t Handle Huge Responsibilities and many more”.
Speaking on DBN’s commitment to female entrepreneurs, Okpanachi said “First and foremost, apart from DBN as an institution, we encourage access to finance for women, because we know that women businesses in particular, have more challenges with funding. Therefore, at DBN, one focus area for us is to ensure that a lot of our finance going throughout Participating Financial Institutions goes to the women,” he stressed.
“Secondly, when you look at the contribution of women even among the DBN staff, we still need to encourage them to do more, because of the much they contribute.
“Thirdly, if you look at it from the National perspective, the contribution of women is relevant to national GDP, wellness and all aspects of the country – both at an individual, Corporate and national level, women are very strong partners in development in all aspects.”
DBN’s inaugural International Women’s Day Celebration in 2020 was focused on the global theme #EachForEqual. Last year, it examined the true cost of excluding women and took a cursory glance at situations where women and men chose to challenge existing biases and promote women’s rights/empowerment and the gains thereof.
This year, and for the third consecutive time, DBN marked the IWD in line with the global theme #BreaktheBias with a well-structured panel session comprising of distinguished professionals with vast experience across various business segments.