Building on the successes of the high-level roundtable dialogue on Expanding Gender-Responsive Investment Initiatives for Economic Sustainability held in the Nigerian Permanent Mission House, New York, on the 20th of June, 2022, USAfrica Trade & Business Network and it’s expo planning committee extended an invitation to WADHI and our network of WMSMEs to the 4th Edition of the USAfrica Business Expo Week.
The Expo held physically and virtually from 12th-22nd September, 2022, at the U.N. Headquarters, New York City. With the theme: Facilitating Export-Import Opportunity for US-Africa MSMEs for Sustainable Development Under the margins of the 77UNGA, the event provided a platform for off-takers and investors to connect with indigenous businesses looking to sell into retail stores and e-commerce platforms in the United States. It also sought to ensure maximum participation of MSMEs groups, Women’s networks, Governments, Agencies, Businesses, and organizations.
Key Expo activities included: AFCTA: Unlocking Africa’s Potential in The Post Covid-19 Era, Doing Business in Africa Country Spotlight Series, One-on-One International Business Consulting for MSMEs, US Trade & Investment Policies in Africa (AGOA and Prosper Africa), a physical/virtual side exhibition, and a visit to the New Jersey State Mall.
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF WOMEN AFFAIRS- PRESS STATEMENT ON THE ELECTION OF ESTHER EGHOBAMIEN-MSHELIA AS NIGERIA’S REPRESENTATIVE ON THE CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (CEDAW) COMMITTEE
Today marks another giant stride in our mission for positive visibility at the global level. On a happy note, I want to announce the victory of the Nigerian Candidate to the UN CEDAW Committee, Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia during the election of new members at the twenty-second Meeting of States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which took place at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 23 June 2022.
Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia is one of the twelve (12) members elected by States parties of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to replace those whose terms of office are due to expire on 31 December 2022. The terms of members elected will commence on 1 January 2023 and expire four years later on 31 December 2026.
This is indeed one of the legacy of this administration in supporting Nigerian Women to occupy visible leadership positions at the International space.
Therefore my profound gratitude to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for his unwavering support to the entire process. This mandate would not have been achieved without the unflinching support of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, the Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Amb Zubairu Dada and their dynamic Team both at Home and in the Mission in New York for the high level networking in delivering on this vision. The role played by the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, the Honourable Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, H.E. Hajiya Mariam Katagum and their Team in mounting a benefiting Made in Nigeria Exhibition is commendable. I want to single out for mention the untiring support of H.E. Excellency, the Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Prof. Tijjani Bande and his Team, who left no stone unturned to ensure that the Nation’s colours stood out throughout the entire process.
I must also thank and congratulate the immediate past Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Engr. Olufunso Adebiyi, FNSE and the Management and Staff of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs for the hard work put in to ensure the victory of our Candidate. Not forgetting to mention the role of the Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Mr. Olukayode Pitan and the Director-General of Abuja Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture Dr. Victoria Akai for the great support in the realization of this mandate. My sincere appreciation to all the Countries who believed in the Nigerian candidature and so voted.
The exception role of UN Women and the Civil Societies in this regard is unprecedented. Gratitude to Bishop Tina Bawa of the Ministerial Technical Committee on Private Sector Initiatives, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi of WARD-C, Toun Sonaiya of Women Radio and several others too numerous to mention.
I have no doubt that Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia will do us proud in the journey ahead. We must therefore rise above our differences to ensure that succeeds in flying the Nigeria colours high.
Congratulations to Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia! Congratulations to Nigerian Women! Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria! Congratulations to Africa!
Signed Dame Pauline K. Tallen, OFR, KSG Honourable Minister Federal Ministry of Women Affairs 23 June 2022.
As a follow-up to activities in preparation for the Global Gender Investment Summit under the WADHI/EEFP Multi-Stakeholder Gender and Economic Growth Series, a high level roundtable dialogue on Expanding Gender Responsive Investment Initiatives for Economic Sustainability was held in the Nigerian Permanent Mission House, New York on the 20th of June, 2022.
In attendance virtually and in-person were participants drawn from the city of New York, Asia, the Nigerian Permanent Mission NY, CEDAW State Parties, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and various women groups.
The event was accompanied by a side exhibition within the Permanent Mission and was held to facilitate engagement with ministries and key partners in the economic empowerment drive for Nigerian and African women. The aim was to demonstrate affordable indigenous products, commodities, and innovation (including the Kowgo Application supported by the Herbert H. Humphrey Alumni Grant and the resulting Arahah market) realized through multi-sectoral initiatives.
The Roundtable also sought to explore business partnership opportunities that could leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) to boost manufacturing, agriculture, technology, ecommerce, trade and export hereby, fulfilling the aspirations of the Buenos Aires Declaration of 2017.
“The Nigerian Women have called on the National and State Houses of Assembly to set in motion modalities to domesticate the Buenos Aires Declaration to ensuring that the Legislative Agenda and African Continental Free Trade Agreement AfCFTA provide economic growth opportunities for all regardless of gender.
The domestication, they said, would enable women to benefit from the projected N75bn annual retail market and other business prospects it offers.
The demand among other significant issues were discussed during the “Multi-stakeholder Policy Dialogue Realizing the Buenos Aires Declaration: Policy and Legislative Reforms for Inclusive African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation in Nigeria,” which took place on Monday in Abuja.
They also demanded for the review of existing laws to provide clearer legal framework for the public and private sectors to promote the UN Global Compact Women Empowerment Principles, WEPs, especially relating to gender and procurement in Nigeria.
They further asked the government institutions and regulatory agencies to work together and synergize to reduce double burden on MSMEs and harness the productivity of women who constitute over 65% of the informal sector across value chains.
They said government and financial institutions should end the rhetoric on financial inclusion for women by simplifying and concretizing women’s access to financing especially for WMSMEs as women have accessed less than 12% of financial credit due to bureaucratic and other barriers.
They appealed to relevant MDAs to provide practical steps and guidelines to eliminate unfriendly visa processes, reduce GBV and other forms of exploitation that impedes trade and movement of goods and facilitate access to foreign markets for WMSMEs.
On her part, the Convener of Women Arise Development and Humanitarian Initiative WADHI, Mrs. Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia advocated for the creation and implementation of policies and legal frameworks that will expand women’s opportunities and lead to teir economic empowerment at the national and regional levels.
According to her, “The reasons why we are here is because there are gaps in our legislations. There are gaps in our policies. And we cannot do much when the legal framework is weak neither can we do much when the policies are not right.
“We are gathered here today to ask questions: Why are those policies not working for women? What do we need to do to make those policies work better?
“70% of workers in health and social sectors are women. But in the age of artificial intelligence; age of digital economy, we have robotics now. They are preparing robots to take over the work of women who are care givers.
“If that’s what’s in the oven, how are the laws protecting the women? How can we push the change of the transition from this kind of the economy so that women do not suffer?”
Speaking earlier, the Director-General of National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Professor Abubakar Sulaiman said the Buenos Aires declaration (2017) on women, trade and economic empowerment committed its signatories to collaborate on making trade and development policies more gender-responsive.
Sulaiman added that the legislatures had an important role to play in ensuring the implementation of those agreements and also in addressing challenges that women and women-led businesses, faced in trade agreements, noting that gender mainstreaming in free trade agreements was becoming an increasingly common practice.
Also, while declaring the event open, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said that women have an important role to play in trade.
Lawan, who was represented by Sen. Sa’idu Alkali (APC-Gombe), called for more support for women engaged in various trades.”
Trade policy for women took an international leap with the Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment endorsed by over 120 countries at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference of December 2017. The Declaration firmly acknowledged the importance of incorporating a gender perspective into the promotion of inclusive economic growth.
With the launch of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in January 2021, expectations are high with regards to expanded business prospects for women-led businesses. With the AfCFTA, informal, micro and small enterprises can be integrated into continental markets and thus break barriers that have so far mitigated growth as they strive to penetrate foreign markets.
In light of this, a Townhall meeting with the theme ” Buenos Aires Declaration: Pathway to Inclusive African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation in Nigeria ” was held at the National Center for Women Development in Abuja on the 14th of December 2021.
At that meeting, Nigerian women demanded that governments in Nigeria and across Africa, collaborate and ensure that WMSMEs participate equitably and inclusively in the African continental free trade agreement (AfCFTA) currently being implemented.
The Town Hall Meeting, organized by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and Women Arise Development and Humanitarian Initiative (WADHI) with support from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council’s (NEPC) Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) was convened to create awareness and start a discourse on how best Nigerian women can benefit from the newly implemented AfCFTA.
The Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum who was represented at the event by the Director of Commodities, Kaura Irimiya, stated that AfCFTA offers unparalleled opportunities for capacity building and access to markets and that businesses (WMSMEs included) will benefit from easier processes and opportunities in the overseas market. That as Nigeria strives to expand economic growth and move from recovery to prosperity, investing in women’s economic empowerment sets the compass in the right direction.
The Convener of Women Arise Development and Humanitarian Initiative (WADHI) Mme Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia, said the Townhall meeting was important, as women do more cross border trading, but have less access to credit, land and skills. Thus, they need to be given equal opportunity to maximize their full potential in trade and other economic activities, arguing that women had the capacity to provide the required solutions for nation building. She further added that, as an outcome of the Townhall, women groups will work to ensure that all identified trade gaps were effectively addressed