FROM BAYO AZEEZ, LAGOS – Keystone Bank plc has demonstrated its commitment to promoting women affairs at the recently concluded International OkpeKpe Road Race, holding the rein of the women empowerment segment of the sporting game.
The Okpekpe Road Race, an annual 10 kilometre marathon organised by Pamodzi Sports marketing Nigeria Ltd in partnership with the Edo State Government, is recognised by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) and attracts competitors from all over Africa.
The Acting Managing Director of the bank, Hafiz Bakare, emphasised the commitment of the bank to supporting initiatives that empower women and youths, describing this as underscoring the pillars of the bank’s corporate social responsibility (CSR).
He further described women as the bedrock of social and moral values and that, supporting such a programme that gives optimum attention to the female gender was not only significant but also essential.
Meanwhile, 10 indigenous women were trained and provided with start-up kits in various vocational skills as part of the bank’s sponsorship of the women empowerment programme.
Speaking on the event in Lagos, the Group Head, Oil & Gas (Corporate Banking) at Keystone Bank, Mrs. Nnenna Kayode-Lawal said, “Beyond being one of our CSR pillars, our focus on supporting women in the society stems from the fact that women remain the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.
“According to a study by the Clinton Foundation, 41 per cent of Nigerian women are entrepreneurs compared to only approximately 10 per cent in the US and 5.7 per cent in the UK.”
She added that the Global Entrepreneurship Monitoring’s annual report also underscores the Clinton Foundation’s report by raising the bar of women’s participation in entrepreneurship, asserting that women actually outnumber men in the entrepreneur space in countries like Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia.
“Many of these women include small scale operators in the rural areas who; if provided with the right kind of support, can have significant effects on the economy. Backed with this report, Keystone Bank is charged to explore all strategies to make significant impact in this terrain,” she concluded.