The Group Managing Director of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Oliver Alawuba, yesterday declared that African women must be empowered to become critical stakeholders in the development agenda before the continent could unlock its abundant opportunities which are in its people, natural resources, and talents.

Alawuba stated this in Lagos, during the UBA Africa Conversation 2023, with the theme “Innovating the Continent for Growth,” which reflected the United Nations and the Africa Unions’ vision of innovation, technology, and the need to create opportunities in the continent.

He said: “The irony of African challenge is that in Africa we have challenges and opportunities sitting side by side. Now between the opportunities and the challenges there can be a gap. How big the gap is, is actually the conversation. If you think the gap between the challenges and Africa is huge then the conversation will take too long.

“But for us in the UBA, we believe that between the challenges and the opportunities is a thin line. And we are committed to unlocking the opportunities in order to fill up those challenges.

“This year too, we believe that women of Africa need to be celebrated. And we think for us to unlock those opportunities, we must empower African women to be critical stakeholders in the development agenda for Africa.

“So today, we have carefully chosen this conversation to celebrate the achievements of the African women. We are going to have a panel today that will really amaze you and give you the confidence that we are on the right path to development.”

He stated that UBA Group was expressing its belief in empowering women by ensuring that over 50 percent of members of its board were made up of women, adding that the bank was committed to developing financial products that would address the needs of the African woman.

“So, as individuals and as corporations we need to corporate with each other to innovate and create the change needed to develop this continent. The time to develop it is now. The people who develop it are here. And like our group chairman will always say ‘no one but us can develop Africa.’”

The GMD of UBA further stated that he believed that the founders of the African Union (AU) had today and, “us in mind in all their discussions when they believed that a time would come, and that time I do say is now, when we take up the challenge to develop this continent for ourselves and our future generation.”

He said the 2023 conversation was part of the UBA’s annual Africa Day celebration because the banking institution is highly committed to Africa becoming the continent of the future.

“So, the month of May is a month that everyone in UBA looks up to because we believe that Africa needs to be celebrated. Our culture and our uniqueness as Africans need to be celebrated too,” he said.

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