Africa’s Financial Rehab could be Noteworthy when Policymakers and the Private Sector Amplify their Strategies to Empower Women Chief Executive of Africa Regions at Standard Bank Group discloses
By Abdul Rahman Bangura–
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone– Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive of Africa Region at Standard Bank Group divulge, Africa’s financial recuperation could be sped if policymakers and the private sector amp up their endeavors to entrust women – a group that accounts for more than half of the landmass’s population.
Since the quest of gender parity is largely a moral obligation, it also creates financial sense. By withholding women their full rights and opportunities, we are simply holding back growth and human development. Interventions attempted at excluding the financial impediments that women contend with – such as financial exclusion and unequal access to quality education – contribute positively towards poverty alleviation and social elevation.
This means it is women who must be represented in policy-making positions and excessive roles in the private sector. Nevertheless, we have created an adequate improvement in this regard over the past few decades, there is a threat that the COVID19 pandemic will thwart or even overturn some of these gains. For far too long, innumerable girls have been pressed to drop out of school amidst the pandemic, and this could have drastic long-term outcomes. Also, women are likely to suffer the brunt of the financial downturn as they are more endangered to informal job than men, and they remain unduly accountable for unpaid household work. And, at a time when permit to funding is critical for the survival of many small businesses, record reveals us that, women entrepreneurs encounter relatively, enormous setbacks than men when it reaches to accessing financial services.
To stay on route, and to secure a rapid yet sustainable financial recuperation from the global crisis, it is important that all stakeholders play their part.
Standard Bank Group is devoted to doing so. For example, Standard Bank are working to boost the representation of women in senior positions across the group. At the end of last year, women held 37% of board positions and 40.3% of senior management positions. This represents solid progress against the Bank’s multi-year targets, which include having women hold 40% of the group’s executive positions by 2023. Standard Bank Group Chief Executive – Sim Tshabalala, exemplifies Standard Bank as a thematic proponent of the UN’s global He For She movement, which has motivated the bank to ramp up its gender-equality efforts. Internally, the have initiated a spectrum of initiatives to bolster the He For She movement.
These include information sessions, debates about various aspects of gender equity, sessions to deliberately engage men in the conversation, and the ongoing focus on leadership development programmes for women.
Women are in the majority in our graduate programme, and we are using customized development interventions to advance women into senior roles, with a particular priority on the Bank’s Africa Regions business.
The Bank similarly focusing on endeavors, externally frequently in alliance with other organizations. In cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa, the Bank just launched the African Women Impact Fund, which strives to enhance women fund managers with access to capital and technical assistance.
These women asset managers will in turn invest in primarily female-owned businesses across the continent. The fund aims to raise a total of $100 million.
Another initiative focuses specifically on the agricultural sector in Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. Working with UN Women, The Standard Bank Group is addressing gender gaps in the sector while also enhancing the industry’s strength to climate change. This however, strives to touch more than 50,000 women in three years, providing them with entrepreneurial skills and access to affordable technology to increase access to markets and finance. And all these projects are meant to support women in aquaculture, and in the cultivation of nuts, rice, beans and vegetables.
Honorably, these ambitions also aspire to bolster corporate governance within women led businesses. This is significant to the long-term success of any organization, and will make it easier for women to access funding and grow their businesses. Investors and funding partners are increasingly concerned about environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues.
As the Bank respond to Africa’s developmental needs, Standard Bank is receiving advice from the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, that aspire to align the policies of the banking industry with society’s aspirations, as asserted by the Sustainable Development Goals and other international frameworks. As a founding signatory of the Principles, the Bank is concentrated on funding inclusive and sustainable growth. And understand that, this is only feasible if Africa’s women are truly empowered. And If it yield good dividends to collective efforts towards gender equality, Africa’s recovery will be fast-tracked.
For New Africa Business News (NABN) Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent
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