The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has charged Nigerian women to see the nation’s challenges as opportunities to use their entrepreneurial skills in providing solutions to the country’s numerous problems, thus reducing poverty in the land. The Managing Director of DBN, Tony Okpanachi, gave the charge while speaking at the 3rd edition of the Women In Leadership and Career Empowerment Programme (WILCEP) Africa, held in Lagos.
Represented by the Business Development and Relationship Manager, MaryEsther Ezeadi, the managing director said with 43.3% unemployment rate in Nigeria, Nigerian women should further sharpen their entrepreneurial skills in order to reduce the rate of unemployment and poverty in the country.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), he said, women constitute over 50% of Nigeria’s population, just as a recent report by the World Bank said Nigeria’s population has been increasing exponentially, with an estimated figure of 300 million by the year 2050.
“With Nigeria’s rapid population growth and the current rate of unemployment, over 90 million Nigerians will be unemployed by 2050. “Nigeria women should see the numerous challenges in the country as opportunities to become entrepreneurs by providing solutions. “According to the latest SMEDAN survey, there are 41 million MSMEs in Nigeria. If each of these businesses employs four people, it would totally wipe out unemployment in Nigeria.
“Our population as at the last count was put at 198.5 million by World Bank. So, it is the most simplistic way of showing the power of entrepreneurship in generating employment,” Okpanachi said.
He also urged women to persevere during challenging times in business, saying the challenges faced in business provide an experience which should serve as a guide to subsequently help sustain the business. While building their businesses, women should prioritize their health and wellbeing, he added. According to him, statistics have shown that women benefited immensely from the DBN loan. “At the end of 2018, women entrepreneurs accounted for 73% of the end-borrowers,” he noted.