It was gathered that the Lagos State Government says it has signed a partnership agreement with an NGO, the African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum, to access the $300 million African Development Bank Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa.
According to the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Akinyemi Ashade, the government will nominate qualified candidates from among the over two million businesswomen in the state to access the fund.
Ashade, who spoke shortly after signing the agreement in Ikeja on Tuesday, expressed optimism that the partnership would relieve female entrepreneurs in the state of the stress associated with accessing finance for their businesses.
Ashade said: “The State Government will nominate qualified candidates from among the over two million businesswomen, while the NGO will provide training in the areas of technology transfer and business coaching.”
Interested women, he said, would be encouraged to form cooperative societies for easy disbursement and monitoring of the funds.
He noted that accessing the fund would attract foreign investment into the country and also boost the economy through increased Gross Domestic Product especially during the current recession.
The founder of the NGO, Irene Ochem, said women in all the business sectors, especially the medium and small businesses, were eligible to apply.
Ochem identified lack of access to funds as a major hindrance to the growth of businesses run by women entrepreneurs.
She thanked the state government for its commitment to the cause of women in the state.
Ochem said: “Zambia has already accessed the AfDB fund to empower women.”
AWIEF is a Pan-Africa initiative, which has the goal of ensuring entrepreneurial capacity building, business skills as well as to facilitating access to finance among others.