Moruf Oseni, the Managing Director/CEO of Wema Bank, underscored the urgency of establishing a dedicated platform to address critical issues affecting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and women in Nigeria, with a simultaneous focus on climate-related concerns. Oseni made these remarks during the bank’s Donor Roundtable, titled “Innovative Financing: Gender-lens and climate-resilient solution,” held in Lagos.

Expressing concern for MSMEs, which constitute the largest employers of labor in the country, Oseni highlighted persistent challenges such as limited access to capital, the need for essential managerial skills development, difficulties in accessing markets, logistical hurdles, a sluggish economy, and heightened inflation. These challenges, he noted, often hinder the growth and survival of many MSMEs.

The Wema Bank CEO also lamented the complexities brought about by climate change, emphasizing its impact on shifting human behavior and straining societal dynamics. To address these multifaceted issues, Oseni stressed the imperative of developing tailored and innovative financing models capable of bridging funding disparities.

He emphasized the importance of ensuring flexibility and easy access in these funding options, specifically designed to meet the unique needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Oseni remarked, “The world we face is a transformed one,” citing the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, global economic disruptions, and the consequences of climate change.

Oseni highlighted the disproportionate burden faced by youth and women in the transformed global landscape, with higher unemployment rates across various societal strata. He urged the creation of funding options that cater to the specific requirements of SMEs to navigate these challenges effectively.

Dr. AMA Onyerinma, Co-founder of Africa Sustainable Trade, echoed the need to address gender inequality challenges, particularly in entrepreneurship. Wema Bank, with a history of empowering and supporting its customers, disbursed over N28 billion in loans to businesses across Nigeria in 2023, showcasing its commitment to fostering financial empowerment and resilience within the business community.

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