IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, Institute of Directors’ Centre for Corporate Governance and Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WimBiz) are collaborating with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) to strengthen the case for greater participation of women in the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
On International Women’s Day, the stakeholders came together at a roundtable session to discuss the theme “Promoting Gender Inclusive Boards, Organisations and Societies.” The discussions focused on progress, challenges and solutions to improve gender diversity on boards of companies in Nigeria. Participants included government officials, regulators, businesses, industry leaders and other experts.
Anastasia Braimoh, Deputy-Director and Head of Legal Department, SEC Nigeria, said “SEC is focused on developing transparent and efficient companies that will attract and retain investments, strengthen the capital market and contribute to economic development. With the support of IFC and other stakeholders, we are leading the promotion of a more balanced board with greater gender diversity to boost efficiency and overall productivity.”
Although the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a directive that 30% of all board compositions in Nigerian banks must be women, a WimBiz 2014 study found only 19% participation of women on boards in banks.
Eme Essien Lore, IFC Country Manager for Nigeria, said: “Research indicates that firms with a diverse directorate are better contributors to economies. Therefore, IFC, in partnership with the SEC, is promoting gender diversity on boards. This is helping strengthen Nigerian companies’ ethical reputation, increasing transparency and investor confidence and improving their financial performance.”
Globally, IFC has nearly reached a 30% target of female representation on IFC-nominated directors in companies it has invested in and it continues to aim for full parity in the near future.
Corporate governance refers to the structures and processes by which companies are directed and controlled. Good corporate governance makes companies more accountable and transparent to investors, which encourages new investments, boosts economic growth and provides employment opportunities.
IFC’s Africa Corporate Governance program is funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Switzerland, and IFC is the implementing partner for the program.