Women should educate themselves to compete with the world – Awosika
First Bank of Nigeria, as part of efforts to boost women empowerment for economic growth and development says it disbursed loans worth N58 billion to over 81,000 female entrepreneurs and professionals in 2020.The Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, disclosed this at the FirstGem annual conference 4.0, which held virtually in Lagos with the theme,” The Art of Negotiation”.Adeduntan said that the bank through its FirstGem product in 2020 gave out loans of N58 billion to over 81,000 female entrepreneurs and professionals to empower the Nigerian woman.He explained that empowering women via agent banking proposition was one of the outcomes of the FirstGem initiative, adding that about 24,500 female agents represented 28 per cent of the agents in the bank network. According to him, it gives us much joy to see that more women are embracing this proposition and getting empowered. “FirstBank, through the FirstGem initiative, is committed to supporting the contemporary woman’s financial services needs across the various stages of her life. “Our FirstGem value proposition provides real solutions to challenges faced by female entrepreneurs and working professionals. Adeduntan noted that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was significant and affected women the hardest. “A recent World Bank report shows that 2021 will bring an increase in extreme poverty with a minimum of 71 million people expected to fall below extreme poverty lines. “Women are losing their livelihoods as they are more exposed to hard-hit economic sectors. “The United Nations also estimates that at least 47 million more women and girls will fall below poverty lines this year with a minimum of 247 million women in extreme poverty because of COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.Also, speaking at the virtual event, Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mrs Ibukun Awosika said noted that women should educate themselves, to compete with the world.Awosika said that the way the world is structured, businesses right now; it doesn’t matter how little your business is and what product you are dealing with, because there is a global reference point that affects what you do in the corner of your room.
In her words, “In term of our business, we want to force you to be a lot more engaged. Information is power, knowledge is key. Your ability to understand what that information represents and you bring it home and let that knowledge impact your business is key.“No matter how little your business is there is connectivity across the whole world that will affect it. So, it’s important that you pay attention to what is going on around the world, pay attention to political issues because political matter around the world and community around you impact the economy of the nation and impact your business”, she said.Similarly, Prof. Pedro Videla, Professor of Economics at IESE Business School, said that the world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dropped by six per cent in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.