The World Bank Group has granted a loan of $500 million to Nigeria to support women’s empowerment initiatives, aiming to promote gender equality and inclusive economic growth. This funding comes as the second loan approved by the World Bank under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu.
The loan is part of the Nigeria for Women Program Scale Up (NFWP-SU), which received an initial financing of $100 million on June 27, 2018. The scale-up financing will contribute to the Nigerian government’s efforts in enhancing the livelihoods of women across the country.
According to a statement issued by the World Bank, the NFWP-SU will facilitate improved economic opportunities for women, addressing gender inequality, and ensuring better education, health, and nutrition outcomes for families. It will also focus on building women’s resilience to climate change and empowering communities.
Recognizing the significance of women’s economic empowerment and its impact on overall development, the World Bank emphasized the need for the Nigerian government to address barriers hindering women’s progress and to foster inclusive, low-carbon, and resilient economic growth.
Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, commended the positive outcomes observed from the parent NFWP, which has successfully created economic opportunities for rural women through Women Affinity Groups. He highlighted that closing the gender gap in key economic sectors could result in substantial gains for Nigeria, estimating between $9.3 billion and $22.9 billion.
The NFWP has already been implemented in six states and has provided support to over 427,887 members of Women Affinity Groups, with the formation and strengthening of 20,506 such groups. These groups have collectively saved approximately NGN 4 billion ($8.9 million equivalent) within two years, with a considerable portion of these funds circulating as loans. The program has also benefited 835,573 community members through various interventions.
Michael Ilesanmi, the Task Team Leader for the Nigeria for Women Project, highlighted the program’s objective of mobilizing disadvantaged women and connecting them with institutions, markets, and financial and non-financial services. By participating in Women Affinity Groups, project beneficiaries can develop social capital that enables them to access financial, political, and economic resources, leading to both social and economic empowerment.
The World Bank’s loan aims to accelerate progress towards bridging the gender gap in Nigeria and empowering women to become active contributors to the country’s economic growth and development. With this support, Nigeria is expected to move closer to achieving its goals of gender equality and inclusive prosperity.