Access Bank’s commitment to advancing women’s economic empowerment is evident through the W Initiative; the home of everything the Bank has to offer women. The Bank has long recognized the economic power of encouraging and supporting women as well as female entrepreneurs and in 2022, they became the lead collaborator with AAWEF to ensure a full representation of African culture at the 33rd annual ZORA! Festival of Arts and Humanities.
AAWEF is positioned to boost the participation of women as key contributors to Africa’s growth and development in science, technology and innovation, with an objective to build sustainable relationships between Africa and America through networking, education, trade and commerce for women entrepreneurs. This they have done for 3 years during the ZORA! Festival of Arts with a conference tagged the “AAWEF trade expo”.
Speaking at the 3rd annual AAWEF trade expo themed “Nurturing International Commerce through Education and Culture”, Dr Herbert Wigwe, GMD, Access Bank Plc. said “We reckon that this would Foster trade relations between Africa and America leading to access to global markets by Women Entrepreneurs with an emphasis in STEM, manufacturing and agriculture. It would also provide a space for African and African-American women to collaborate and innovate for advancement of entrepreneurial initiatives that positively impact their communities and nations.”
This collaboration also presents an opportunity for African women entrepreneurs within the W community to sell their products at the trade expo and connect and exchange with their American counterparts through the Africa-America Women’s Economic Forum-Sustainable Trade and Innovation Conversation.
“As our women brace up to the challenges of expanding their competencies, I am positive that as a Bank, we will continue to make our own contributions to ensure that our focus on women which aligns with the UN objectives are achieved in record time. We will continue to say No to all forms of gender discrimination, ‘No to violence against women’, ‘No to harmful practices against women and children’ and ‘Yes to all forms of women empowerment programs’” – Dr Ajoritsedere Awosika, Chairman, Access Bank Plc.
Being the only African financial institution to partner with AAWEF, Access Bank’s W Initiative was given the opportunity to select vendors from Africa who would display their Afrocentric products to an international audience at the outdoor festival of the Arts. This opportunity was presented at no cost to the vendors.
Chizoma Okoli while addressing the issues around accessing finance and resources for women in Africa at the conference said “Access to finance for women in Africa is very critical for us at Access Bank. Women are generally relegated to being home makers in the society and require a higher level of assistance given the challenges that they face. Women believe they can’t do as much as a man can, however with the right support system which the bank provides, there is no limit to what they can do”
This partnership will further reiterate Access Bank’s commitment to empowering female entrepreneurs across Africa by opening opportunities for international trade and commerce between Africa and America thereby contributing to the GDP of African countries and exporting the rich African culture.