The Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM), on Thursday, launched the Women and Youth Export Facility (WAYEF) in Kebbi State.
WAYEF is aimed to stimulate and increase deliberate funding to Women and Youth (between the ages of 18 to 35 years) towards broadening Nigeria’s export basket and facilitating regional industrialization for value added exports.
Speaking at the launch, the Nexim Bank Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer, Abba Bello, said the bank is the Trade Policy Bank of Nigeria, whose mandate is to diversify the external sector of the Nigerian economy towards increased jobs creation and foreign exchange earnings from the non-oil export sector, and in line with that mandate, “we have observed the unfolding dynamics of the Nigerian economic environment and the need for specific policy intervention to promote economic and social inclusion of key segments of our population, in particular the women and youth. For instance, the United Nations Population projection for Nigeria in 2020 indicates that about 62% of Nigerians are below 25 years, while over 50% belong to the female gender.
“These segments of the population can, therefore, not be ignored by an interventionist agency like NEXIM hence our decision to establish the Women and Youth Export Facility (WAYEF) as a deliberate and targeted funding scheme to address the needs of these vulnerable groups,” he said.
The Nexim Bank MD noted that the choice of Kebbi state for the WAYEF launch is informed by the strong enthusiasm shown by youths in the State,under the auspices of the Kebbi Youth Connect Initiative during his interaction with them in April. Also, in recognition of the wide array of exportable products, including Groundnuts, Cotton, Onionsetc which are available in the state and could be harnessed by our women and youths.
Bello said that Kebbi, being a border state with significant trading links with Niger, the Republic of Benin and the rest of West Africa, can seize the opportunity of NEXIM’s products and services to grow its cross-border trade, particularly within the context of the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which commenced in January 2021 and to which Nigeria is a signatory.
The Nexim Bank MD urged SMEs and small traders to embrace the culture of operating formal trades, which will provide many benefits, including access to concessionary funding and other government incentives that will help them to grow their businesses.