NFNV Nigeria Hosts Workshop on Digital Financial Inclusion for Women CBTs in West Africa

The Nigeria Chapter of New Faces New Voices (NFNV Nigeria) is set to host a hybrid capacity building workshop on Prospects of Digital Financial Inclusion in Women Cross Border Trade come April 25 in Lagos, Nigeria, with support from United Parcel Service (UPS). 

NFNV-Nigeria has been at the forefront of pioneering efforts to empower women Cross Border Traders (CBTs) in West Africa, including facilitating the establishment of Women Cross Border Traders Association in West Africa (AFOACT), which provides training, networking and information for access to markets in West Africa. 

AFOACT was an outcome of NFNV Nigeria’s Raising Voices for Cross-Border Traders in West Africa project which culminated with a two-day regional stakeholders’ roundtable on women’s cross-border trade in September 2018 at Dakar, Senegal.  

This new project’s overall objective is to assess the training needs of women entrepreneurs engaged in cross-border trade in the areas of digital financial literacy, trade logistics, market information and other non-financial challenges, as well as collaborating with financial institutions in providing technical assistance in digitalizing payments.

Although cross-border trade is a major contributor to economic growth in West Africa, women cross-border traders continue to face enormous challenges that inhibit their entrepreneurial development and growth opportunities. These challenges include inadequate border facilities and infrastructure, inefficient and inconvenient customs processes, inadequate trade governance and excessive customs charges. 

In certain instances, women cross-border traders are confronted with harassment, bribery and corruption as well as supply barriers such as misinformation pertaining to border customs procedures and regulations, limited access to capital investments and assets as well as limited entrepreneurial skills. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated these challenges in women’s trade activities. 

Therefore, the NFNV Nigeria project seeks to map out stakeholders in West Africa’s digital technology ecosystem to facilitate business ease through payments; create a community of women entrepreneurs in AFOACT into clusters of various business sectors to be mentored with knowledge, skills and strategies of adopting digital technology into their businesses, among others.

The Lagos workshop will be attended by 100 women entrepreneurs from Nigeria, Ghana, Mali and Senegal from across different clusters including Agriculture, Arts and Crafts and Fashion and Textile. The clusters of women entrepreneurs aged 35 -55 will be mentored by business coaches and mentors from NFNV-Nigeria and AFOACT as well as independent business sector facilitators.

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