By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief 

The World Bank has said that the Nigerian economy could earn additional $23- $ 29 billion if the country closed the gender gap.

This was contained in its  new report, “Closing Gaps, Increasing Opportunities: A Diagnostic on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Nigeria,” which was launched in Abuja, yesterday. 

According tonthe report, Nigerian women needed economic empowerment which would open up greater growth in the country, especially after the economic devastation by COVID -19 Pandemic, across the globe. 

The report said,”Gender disparities in earnings not only hold back the Nigerian economy, they also represent an opportunity: closing the gender gaps in key economic sectors could yield additional gains of US9.3 billion dollars or up to US22.9 billion dollars. 

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“Women’s economic empowerment will also be key to accelerating a demographic transition and reaping the gains of a demographic dividend.”

According  to the report,  although a large population of women were engaged in agriculture,  they hardly had adequate inputs for high yields. 

It added that even those who owned companies had less capitalised firms.

It said, “There  are consistent value differences in both the North and South across common crop types. On the average, households farming yams attain significantly higher values per hectare while those farming other roots and tuber crops attain significantly lower value per hectare.

“In both the North and the South, women consistently farm the less valuable roots and tuber crops, restricting their agricultural productivity relative to male farmers.

“Self-employed women operate firms with significantly less capital than firms operated by men. More capitalized firms have higher profits, yet, the value of equipment owned by women-operated firms is only 16 per cent of the total value of  firms operated by men.

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