Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has emphasised the importance of empowering women, saying it was crucial for accelerating industrialisation across Africa.
Sanwo-Olu spoke on Thursday at an event marking the 2023 Africa Industrialisation Day, with the theme, ‘Accelerating Africa’s industrialisation through the empowerment of women in processing for an integrated market’.
He said, “Women make up a significant portion of the continent’s population, and their active participation in the workforce can contribute significantly to economic growth and development.”
Sanwo-Olu was represented by Abimbola Salu-Hundeyin, the secretary to the state government.
According to him, Africa can tap into a larger pool of talents by empowering women and ensuring their equal participation in the workforce,
He stated that diverse teams often bring different perspectives and ideas, fostering innovation and problem-solving, which is essential for industrial growth.
The governor further stated that part of the objectives of the government was to create employment, eradicate poverty and promote sustainable economic development, with a special focus on women.
Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, the commissioner for commerce, cooperatives, trade and investment, on her part, decried women’s near lack of access to factors of production, including modern technologies.
“While women form the bulk of the farming population, feeding families, and nourishing children, their contributions are often undervalued, and they do not control much resources,” she said.
Ambrose-Medebem added that women must be empowered to take an active part in industrial production through agro-processing value chains, where most of the wealth is generated.
“In a time like this when the economic and business climate in Africa and other parts of the world is facing severe challenges, it is time for the nation to diversify its economy through networking and value addition, giving women priority in the forefront of business development,” she said.
Segun Kuti George, MD, Goshen Exquisite Marble and guest speaker, said there was a need to invest in education and training that will equip women with the necessary technical and managerial skills for industrial processing.
He further advocated for the creation of financial interventions targeted at women on the back of the $42 billion financing gap for women entrepreneurs in Africa.