By Ebunoluwa Sessou
Chairperson, Women in Management, Business and Public Service, WIMBIZ, Ngover Ihyembe-Nwankwo, has called on women to take advantage of the renewable energy sector to harness their potential for better productivity and economic stability in the country.
She made the call during the WIMBIZ CEO Roundtable sponsored by All On noting that, if more women channel their resources towards renewable energy, it would enhance their opportunities and give room for gender parity.
With the theme, “Renewable Energy: A Sustainable Path to Power for All”, she disclosed that, the goal is to see more women contributing positively to the economy power of Nigeria and beyond.
“WIMBIZ is an organization that has seen this new business space as leverage to engage more women and succeed.
“WIMBIZ has four pillars, Inspire, Empower, Advocate and Connect and this event allows us to connect with each other, we empower women by giving them the knowledge and we share lots of resources for them to abreast themselves on the industries that they are trying to explore. It also affords them the opportunity to know how to raise funds.
“WIMBIZ is a big pool of women and we connect and work with various NGOs at different levels. We also do lots of Corporate Social Responsibilities, CSR, including the ‘Big Sister’ programme which gives us the opportunity to reach out to students in public schools. We try in our capacity to work at various levels”, she said.
According to her, “Renewable energy sector is about getting more young girls into STEM and what WIMBIZ has done is to work with CEOs to encourage more girls into STEM.
“We are catalysts that advocate for policies that would encourage more girls into STEM and we collaborate with women organizations locally and internationally and the Big Sister’s programme is to encourage girls to be inspired by some of the female role models for them to fulfill goals.
“We need the right policy at national level to ensure access to education for all women and young girls to give room for gender parity.
WIMBIZ’s 20th Anniversary
Speaking on the 20th Anniversary Annual conference, she said, all plans are on top gear to ensure successful outcome of the programme including , Big Sister’s event, Legend Ball, Arts and Fashion, Gulf Tournament as well as Master Classes. The programme is slated for November and the theme is ‘Celebrating Legacy’, it is a hybrid event”, she said.
In an interview, the Chief Executive Officer, All On, Dr. Wiebe Boer, hinted that there is need for regulation that would allow the industry to be properly positioned.
“To reduce the cost of solar installation, there is a need for lots of equipment to be imported or manufactured in Nigeria on a larger scale to help individuals grow their businesses.
Speaking on access to loan, he said, “Individuals seeking access to loan are frustrated because of bank’s demands. Solar industry is a technology inclined industry and most of the industries are relatively new and so, we need the commercial banks to understand that and encourage entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
For us, every programme we run is women capacity driven that priotises gender parity and economic stability.
“We are working with women organizations on awareness to take the message of STEM to the grassroots”, he added.
For Business Development Manager, ZOLA Electric, Bimpe Adebisi, the challenge in renewable energy is importation of equipment especially on a large scale.
“We are trying to bridge the gap of importation so as to be able to meet our targets. We are optimistic that the renewable energy sector will thrive. There are a lot of solar import plants currently in Nigeria which will reduce importation.
“On the long run, we will not need the foreign exchange rate to dictate the nature of the business. This business is like telecommunications which is doing well in Nigeria now. It started at a high rate but in the long run, everybody can afford it. The same way renewable energy will boom in Nigeria. Power is essential for life”, she said.