The one-day forum for women is scheduled for Thursday 23, May 2013, and will highlight businesswomen's advocacy efforts for increased economic empowerment across four African countries, namely Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and host Nigeria.
Celena Green, Senior Program Manager, Africa of Vital Voices Global Partnership, a Washington DC, United States-based organization, said this year's SPARC Forum in Lagos will discuss “the importance of women's leadership in Africa's economic growth, and the advocacy efforts that women's business organizations are undertaking to promote greater investment in women, and improvements in the business environment that will provide equal opportunities for women's economic participation.”
‘‘Research has shown that gender equality is not only the right thing to do, but also good for business. Companies and governments that diversify their procurement see improved savings and efficiencies by opening the process to new players. Companies that have greater diversity in management and leadership also see greater returns, allowing them to be more prosperous, create jobs, and contribute to development and poverty alleviation. That is why women and men in the SPARC program are together advocating for equality of opportunity.'' she said.
Green adds that SPARC Forum will comprise two panels: the first panel will focus on the impact of women in leadership positions in the private sector, while the second panel will be on the importance of government investment in women's business development. About 75-100 attendees from civil society, and public and private sectors are expected at this event.
International high level keynote and panel speakers as well as high profile guests from across the continent will attend the forum. Attendees that have confirmed their presence include Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy; Victoria Sekitoleko, former Minister of Agriculture of Uganda, and Founder of Uganda Culture Community Centre; Adedotun Sulaiman, a renowned Management and Strategy Consultant; Jane Kiragu, Advocate of the High Court of Kenya; Alyse Nelson, Co-Founder & President, Vital Voices Global Partnership; and Kah Walla, CEO and Founder, STRATEGIES! from Cameroon amongst others.
“In order to improve and increase Nigeria women's economic and socio-political engagement, WIMBIZ (Women in Management, Business and Public Service), a Nigeria-based non-profit organization that strives to elevate the status and influence of women and their contribution to nation building is addressing some economic advocacy issues such as tackling the under-representation of women on corporate boards, which has been proven to be not just a case of moral injustice but also a factor for organizational decay.
“The SPARC program through WIMBIZ is using advocacy tools to sensitize the general public and seeks possible legislative change to deal with on the issue women representation on the socio-economic decision making processes in Nigeria. WIMBIZ will partner with other advocacy groups, media and consultants who would support the expansion of socio-political and economic space for women in Nigeria,” says WIMBIZ Chairperson Adeola Azeez.
Vital Voices Global Partnership is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that identifies and invests in women leaders around the world working to advance human rights, political participation, and economic empowerment. The Supporting Public Advocacy for Regional Competitiveness (SPARC) Program was launched in 2012 with the objective of fostering increased African women's economic engagement in the labour force and in entrepreneurship as well as creating a more enabling environment for women's economic empowerment and poverty alleviation. The SPARC Program works with four partners of the Vital Voices Africa Businesswomen's Network (ABWN) on advocacy campaigns designed to create a more enabling economic environment for women in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. The program partner in Nigeria is the highly respected Women in Management, Business, and Public Service (WIMBIZ).
Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of Chain Reactions Nigeria.
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