A roadmap to support gender equality, women’s entrepreneurship, and the formalization of enterprises in Nigeria takes shape

Stakeholders participated in a workshop to develop a roadmap and monitoring framework. The workshop aimed to foster collaboration and implement effective strategies.

News | 29 June 2023

Abuja (ILO News) – “Women in Nigeria have a high interest in becoming entrepreneurs, but face challenges related to the business and regulatory environment, including access to financial and business development services. When these challenges are lifted, women-led enterprises will unleash their potential to generate decent jobs in the country.” said Dr. Vanessa Phala, Director of the ILO Country Office for Nigeria, during the welcome ceremony of a four-day technical workshop, held in Keffi, Nasarawa State in Nigeria from 13 to 16 June 2023.

Through the workshop, the ILO supported constituents to develop an evidence-based three-year roadmap to address barriers to women’s entrepreneurship, gender equality and enterprise formalization, with a focus on Lagos and River states. The roadmap was developed under an ILO-funded project, “Promoting Gender Equality and Formalization through Women’s Entrepreneurship Development in Nigeria”. Speaking at the technical workshop, Mr. Wale Fasanya, Director-General of SMEDAN through Prof. Fisher, noted that women entrepreneurs make up about 60 per cent of 39.6 million MSMEs in Nigeria. He re-affirmed SMEDAN’s commitment to work collaboratively to ensure the implementation of the roadmap and requested the ILO’s support to do so.

The roadmap and implementation monitoring framework includes actions to support women’s entrepreneurship and the formalization of their businesses across six technical topics and three cross-cutting areas:
• Gender-sensitive legal and regulatory system
• Effective policy leadership and coordination
• Access to gender-sensitive financial services
• Access to gender-sensitive business development support
• Access to markets and technology
• Representation of women entrepreneurs and participation in policy dialogue

The cross-cutting areas include:
• Emergency preparedness and response
• Oversight, monitoring and implementation of the roadmap
• Research, data and management to support continued improvements

Stakeholders from 23 institutions in Nigeria participated in the workshop to develop the roadmap and implementation monitoring framework, including the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Bureau of Public Procurement, Joint Tax Board, Bank of Industry, Keystone Bank, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Bank of Agriculture, Abuja Enterprise Agency, National Directorate of Employment, Federation of Informal Workers’ Organization of Nigeria, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Women Consortium of Nigeria, Women in business (WIMBIZ), Pan African Women Empowerment of Nigeria (PAWEN), Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office, National Health Insurance Authority, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning, as well as Bank of Agriculture. The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Chinenye Anekwe, ILO National Project Coordinator and supported by two national consultants: Ms Uchenna Idoko and Dr. Dare Akerele.

Ms. Nnenna Enekweizu from WIMBIZ making technical inputs during the workshop, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. © ILO

Group discussions during the workshop, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. © ILO

Next steps
Constituents will continue to engage to finalize all sections of the roadmap, including in areas such as ICTs and social protection. The final drafts of the roadmap and the implementation monitoring framework will be validated in the coming months.