The Federal Government of Nigeria has received approval from the World Bank Group for a new loan of $500 million, aimed at promoting women’s empowerment in the country. This loan marks the second financial assistance granted by the World Bank under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu.
The loan will contribute to the scale-up financing of the Nigeria for Women Programme (NFWP), which was initially endorsed on June 27, 2018, with $100 million in funding. The World Bank’s decision to provide additional funding reflects its commitment to improving the livelihoods of women in Nigeria.
According to a statement issued by the World Bank, the NFWP-SU will play a crucial role in ensuring improved economic opportunities for women, which are essential for addressing gender inequality. Additionally, it will contribute to better education, health, and nutrition outcomes for families while strengthening the resilience of women and communities in the face of climate change.
The World Bank emphasized the importance of the Nigerian government addressing the barriers that hinder women’s economic empowerment and impede inclusive, low-carbon, and resilient economic growth. Recognizing that women’s empowerment is instrumental in building resilience to climate change, the World Bank stressed its positive impact on households and communities.
Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, expressed optimism about the project, stating that the parent NFWP has already shown promising outcomes by creating economic opportunities for rural women through Women Affinity Groups. Bridging the gender gap in key economic sectors could potentially yield substantial gains, ranging from $9.3 billion to $22.9 billion.
The Nigeria for Women Project’s Task Team Leader, Michael Ilesanmi, highlighted the program’s goal of mobilizing impoverished and vulnerable women into various institutions and facilitating their access to markets, financial services, and non-financial support. Through participation in Women Affinity Groups, beneficiaries build social capital, which can be leveraged to access economic and political resources, leading to both social and economic empowerment.
The NFWP has already been implemented in six states, benefiting over 427,887 members of Women Affinity Groups through the formation and strengthening of 20,506 such groups. Over the past two years, these groups have saved approximately NGN 4 billion ($8.9 million equivalent), with a significant portion of these funds circulating as loans at any given time. Thus far, the NFWP has positively impacted the lives of 835,573 community members through various interventions.
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