Financial Inclusion: Boi Disburses $6.02m To Women-owned Businesses

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financial inclusion boi disburses 602m to womenowned businesses
Financial Inclusion: BoI Disburses $6.02m to Women-owned Businesses

The Bank of Industry (BoI) says in line with its support of gender equality and women financial inclusion, it has disbursed $6.02 million out of its $10 million investment commitment to Alitheia Fund.

Managing Director, BoI, Dr. Olasupo Olusi, said this at the weekend during the BOI International Women's Day (IWD) 2024 event with the theme "Inspire Inclusion."

He was represented by Ms Mabel Ndagi, Executive Director of the Micro Enterprise Directorate, BOI.

Alitheia Fund is a pioneering $100 million gender-lens fund that invests in women-owned, women-led or women-servicing companies across varying sectors.

Olusi said the 2024 IWD's theme resonated with BOI's commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace as well as the bank's clientele portfolio.

He added that the year's theme challenges everyone to move beyond the perceived norms and truly embody the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

On funding for women-owned businesses, the BoI Managing Director stated that the bank was also the local execution partner for the Islamic Development Bank's Business Resilience Assistance for Value-Adding Services (BRAVE) program in Nigeria.

"This is a $14.27 million initiative that was designed to support women-owned businesses, particularly those living in economically disadvantaged areas arising from conflicts and social unrest.

"As of February 2024, the bank had disbursed the sum of N5.9billion to 551 beneficiaries.

"We are currently working with the African Development Bank (AfDB) on its AFAWA initiative, a pan-African initiative to bridge the $42 billion financing gap women in Africa face," he said.

Olusi said that BoI had created special funding and business support for female entrepreneurs and made gender funding one of the Bank's six thematic critical areas of focus and support.

This, he stated, was in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's unwavering commitment to ensuring social inclusion, empowerment for women, and economic support for disadvantaged women and mothers.

"To this end, the results have started manifesting as currently, more girls are enrolled in schools and women now occupy record-breaking positions in government and corporate organisations.

"Businesses are increasingly acknowledging the significance of diversity and intentionally driving the gender inclusion/sensitivity agenda, particularly at the board level.

"To truly "Inspire Inclusion," we must act and it starts within our organizations by implementing policies that promote gender equality and creating an environment where women can thrive.

"As leaders, we have the responsibility to champion inclusivity by ensuring that our workplaces are free from discrimination and biases," he said.

He added that achieving full inclusion for women required a proactive and collaborative effort of the Federal Government and sub-nationals, organised private sector, civil societies, and individuals.

Founder, Lagos Fashion Week, Omoyemi Akerele, emphasised the need to adopt sustainability models in the textile industry to contribute greatly to women's empowerment.