The Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN) was formed in February, 2013 by Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). CIPE elected and trained 17 Women Business Associations in capacity building programs towards the enhancement of the participation of Nigerian Women on Policy Making. In November, 2014 another business association joined the coalition and it became an 18-member coalition. Listed below are the 18- member coalition, coalition board and advocacy members:


The 18 Business Organisations

1. Country Women Association of Nigeria COWAN
2. International Federation of Business & Professional Women BPW Nigeria
3. Women’s International Shipping &Trading Association of Nigeria WISTA
4. NECA’S Network of Entrepreneurial Women NNEW
5. Nigerian Association of Women Entrepreneurs NAWE
6. International Women Society of Nigeria IWSN
7. ECOWAS Federations of Business Women Entrepreneurs FEBWE
8. Association of Women Farmers of Nigeria AWFN
9. Nigeria Network of Women Exporters NNWE
10. Market Women Association Market Women Association
11. Women’s Consortium of Nigeria WOCON
12. Women in Business and Management WIMBIZ
1 3. Women’s Rights Advancement & Protection Alternative WRAPA
14. NASME Women Wing NASME Women
15. Association of Nigerian Women Business ANWIB
17. African Women Entrepreneurship Program AWEP Nigeria
18. Women in Successful Careers WISCAR


The Coalition Board Members

NAMES                                                                              ORGANIZATIONS

  1. Mrs. Titilola Adisa                                                    B.P.W (Coalition Coordinator).


  1. Barr. Nkiru Joy Okpala                                             NNWES


  1. Iyalode Alaba Lawson (MFR)                                  FEBWE (Nigeria).


  1. Mrs. Ada Ozongwu                                                  NAWE


  1. Mrs. Ruth Nwokolo                                                  NAWORG


  1. Chief (Mrs.) Bisi Ogunleye (OFR)                           COWAN


  1. Mrs. Edobong Akpabio                                             NNEW


The Advocacy Committee Members

NAMES                                                                               ORGANIZATIONS

  1. Barr. Bisi Olatern – Olagbegi                       WOCON
  2. Mrs. Joan Obaze                                                        AWFAN
  3. Mrs. Patricia Onoja                                                    AWEP
  4. Mrs. Temi Adeleke                                                    WRAPA



  • Create the coalition infrastructure
  • Define Teams roles
  • Design Specific rules and procedures
  • Set up Formal Leadership structure
  • Assign roles and responsibilities
  • Decide on operational model: who? What? when? And how often.

CIPE has sponsored ANWBN for these Capacity building training programs:

  1. Workshop on ‘’How to Administer an Effective Women Business Organisation’’ in November 2012.
  2. Advocacy Training Workshop on 19th -21st February, 2013.
  3. Workshop on ‘’Coalition Governance and Financial Sustainability’’ was organised for Board members of all the Coalitions under CIPE on 25 – 27 March, 2013 in Abuja.
  4. Communication Workshop in Abuja on 2 -3 April, 2013.
  5. Media workshop Organised by CIPE in Abuja on 8 -9 April, 2013.
  6. The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), in collaboration with the International Republican Institute (IRI) and International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) organized a three day (September 26th, 29th & 30th, 2014) pre-election workshop for Private Sector based coalitions including ANWBN.
  7. CIPE planned and conducted a diagnostic of COWAN and trained its members of board on role of COWAN as a business Organisation in Nigeria in Akure on 2ND -4TH NOVEMBER, 2014.
  8. CIPE organised a workshop in Akure on July 6-7, 2015. COWAN branches in 36 states of the country and Abuja to strengthened their capacity and effectively serve the needs of members. ANWBN board members attended the workshop and this greatly increase the national outreach of ANWBN and an ability to fully represent women business issues in the country.
  9. Developing ‘’A Women National Business Agenda Workshop’’ at Platinum Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos- September 2-4, 2015.
  10. Technology Improvement Workshop CIPE’s Office, Ikeja-Lagos February 15 – 16, 2016.
  11. CIPE and ITCILO invited ANWBN Coordinator to attend the Women Empowerment through Business Member Organizations Training of Trainers in Turin, Italy at ILO’s International Training Center. The program consists of four weeks online training (October, 2015), training at ITCILO Campus (9 -13 November, 2015 and local implementation training to ANWBN Member between January and March, 2016.
  12. Women Economic Empowerment Through Business Member Organizations Workshop CIPE’s Office, Ikeja-Lagos February 17– 18, 2016

ANWBN Participation in International SHE-TRADE Forum

CIPE invited ANWBN to participate in the Women In Export Stakeholders Forum and Exhibition on July 13, 2016 in Abuja. The forum was hosted by the Government of Nigeria to Launch SheTrades Nigeria, with the support of the International Trade Centre (ITC) in Abuja, Nigeria. ANWIB (Pat Agbakwu) represented ANWBN and CIPE at the forum and she will also be presenting her report.


ANWBN Infrastructure:

  2. Code of Conduct (CoC)
  3. Memorandum of understanding (MOU)
  4. Implementation of CoC and MOU.


ANWBN Projects sponsored by CIPE

  • The coalition identified the issues affecting women-owned businesses as:
  • Lack of access to business capital/credit
  • Multiple taxation
  • Lack of resources (information, land, etc.)
  • Lack of inclusiveness
  • Lack of funding/ financial Education
  • Absence of Legislation
  • Lack of business ideas/ managerial skills
  • Gender based violence and food insecurity
  • Long Procedure of Business Registration
  • ANWBN further reviewed this to see which of these issues affect at least 50% of small businesses operated by women and findings are:
  • A lack of information/poor public knowledge of available resources/initiatives provided for the business community;
  • An inability to obtain credit financing due to unwholesome bureaucracy or unreasonable eligibility criteria; and
  • ANWBN members unanimously agreed to tackle the barriers against access to credit first and this decision gave birth to the project called “Increasing Access to Credit among Micro and Small Women Entrepreneurs.”


              Project Objectives:

  • To raise the public awareness of the barriers women business owners, face in accessing and securing credit in Nigeria.
  • To work and reduce those barriers with government through public-private dialogue

             The Project Sponsors/Donor Agencies:

  • Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Washington, DC. – 90%
  • ANWBN – 10% (Matching Fund – in terms of quantity of work done by the working committees, Volunteers and project manager).

             Project Duration:

  • Six Months
  • Started in March, 2014

             ANWBN Project Implementation was carried out by:

  • Abuja working committee:

NNWES (Nigeria Network of Women Exporters), NNEW (NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women), BPW (International Federation of Business and Professional Women) & NAWE (Nigerian Association of Women Entrepreneurs). The committee was chaired by Ms. Yinka Ajibola.

  • Lagos Working committee:

NNEW (NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women), IWS (International Women Society of Nigeria), WRAPA (Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative), WOCON (Women’s Consortium of Nigeria) & NAWORG (NACCIMA Women Wing). The committee was chaired by Mrs. Fayo Williams.

  • Volunteers in Enugu (NASME- Women Wing) and Port- Harcourt (NAWE-).
  • Project Manager –ANWBN Coordinator
  • Project Consultant- Mrs. Toki Mabogunje

             Project Activities were:

  • Field Surveys and Research
  • Media Roundtable
  • Consultation Visit
  • Business Roundtable Forum
  • Public-Private Dialogue Forums on Access to Credit
  • Technical Dialogue
  • Result and Evaluation


ANWBN has first carried out field surveys and research, media roundtable, consultation visits, business roundtable forum. The successful implementation of these four activities have revealed that the Nigerian Government and its agencies, financial institutions, and women entrepreneurs have a crucial role to play before credit could be more accessible to women.


The role of Government is to provide the right policies and suitable environment, the financial institutions to provide credit facility. In addition, ensure the implementation of value added activities that will help businesses to grow from micro to small, small to medium, and medium to large organisation; while women entrepreneurs need to gain financial literacy and business management skills.


The financial literacy training will engender knowledge in women in the following areas:

  • To identify available funds
  • Play according to the rules in acquiring the fund
  • Proper application of the funds to the growth of the business and not to “other things.”
  • Create a financially independent home, and becoming an active citizen.


ANWBN through these four activities has also produced two documents namely: the ANWBN position paper/ Document, and ANWBN’s policy position. The documents were launched and discussed during the public private dialogue with all the stakeholders

In Abuja and Lagos.


ANWBN produced an action plan and also organized a Technical Dialogue Forum with the banks and relevant government ministries in Lagos to discuss the next steps and a framework for action on easing access to credit using the Policy Position recommendations.



The list of actions that has been taken by the stakeholders after the advocacy visits and public private dialogue are:


  • ANWBN noted that Bank of Industry (BOI) have reduced their application requirement from 21 to 5 pages and the organisation is still undergoing restructuring.
  • Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has established movable assets registry as an alternative to fixed assets currently used by banks as collateral for loans.
  • BOI now assists Agricultural Cottage Industries thereby partially addressing the issue of Cottage Industries.
  • The CBN has released N220B SME fund (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund – MSMEDF) and guidelines have been released in other to create a business friendly environment.
  • The CBN has directed financial institutions on financial inclusion for women with regard to credit services.
  • The CBN has started the implementation of Bank Biometric Number to improve the identification of those accessing financial services.
  • The Federal Ministry of Finance has started the implementation of its ‘’Growing Girl and Women Initiative’’ known as GWIN to increase women’s knowledge, build their capacity and empower them.


ANWBN used the opportunity of its invitation to the 2014 Annual Dinner/ Corporate Forum of the Association of Professional Women Bankers (APWB) with the theme: Sustaining Financial Inclusion through Micro Enterprise Development to present and distribute the new development and recommendations the expected the financial stakeholder to put in place.

The developments and recommendations are:


  • The Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) should expand its training programs to include programs which promote financial inclusion and lending to women entrepreneurs. ANWBN will collaborate with CIBN in its efforts to promote lending to women.
  • ANWBN, NAMB and APWB should collaborate in delivering financial literacy programs for women across the country. This will enable women to be better prepared to access credit.
  • The Women’s group of the CIBN (APWB) should engage in advocating for banks to lend to women businesses.
  • Commercial Banks need to review their criteria for eligibility to access loans by reducing the criteria and simplifying the loan process for micro and small women entrepreneurs.
  • Currently commercial banks request for cash backed bank guarantees from Microfinance banks when they apply for funds to on-lend to their customers. This makes the cost of funds expensive and results in higher bank charges to the Micro and Small Woman Entrepreneur. We recommended the use of fixed assets.
  • Financial institutions should review their repayment terms for loans to ease the burden of repayment on the borrower by taking the entrepreneurs operations and cash cycle into consideration when developing the repayment schedule. All financial institutions should as a matter of necessity use the services of credit bureaus in order to grow the number of good borrowers and to reduce the incidence of bad debts and late collections.

Today, there is a new government in place, oil price on which Nigeria’s economy was based during the project has reduced drastically, CBN is making short term and long term changes on the monetary policies of the country. These changes are presently changing how financial institutions operate in Nigeria and country is in recession as the economy has gone comatose.


In September, 2014 CIPE trained ANWBN on how to put together a National Women Business Agenda as an advocacy document for policy change that will create a better business environment. The Coalition also produced a Draft of its MOU and Code of conduct at the workshop while project taskforce, project manager and an advisory council were nominated after the program, CIPE also introduced the Project Researcher to ANWBN:

  1. Four major affecting women businesses were identified as:
  2. Lack of government priority patronage for made in Nigeria goods, produced by Women-owned businesses
  3. Stringent conditions for Women-owned businesses to access finance
  • Lack of consultation and inclusion of Women-owned business and professional associations in business, economic and social matters at all tiers of government.
  1. Illegal, Arbitrary and Double Taxation of Businesses by Government Institutions in Nigeria
  2. The leader of each group discussion were nominated as member of Taskforce:
  3. Group 1 – Nkiru Okpala
  4. Group 2 – Patricia Agbakwu
  • Group 3 – Edobong Akpabio
  1. Group 4 – Nana Okuribido

The ANWBN Coordinator was nominated as the Project Coordinator and the

Advisory Council Members are Winifred Okeke and Adaeze Ozongu.

CIPE also employed a Researcher (Abimbola Sochukwu) for the project.

  1. A work plan was produced by CIPE for the implementation of this project. The activities carried out by the Taskforce, Researcher, Coordinator and the advisory council are shown in the activity table below:


Project Activity Table

1. Each Group produced a draft report on Identified Issues for Business Agenda

after input and validation from Primary Associations’ Members


2. Collected Feedback from Primary Associations on the Issues identified for the Business Agenda and submitted to the Coordinator and Researcher. Group 1 – Nkiru Okpala

Group 2 – Patricia Agbakwu

Group 3 – Edobong Akpabio

Group 4 –  Nana Okuribido

3. The drafted Code of Conduct & MOU were sent to all leaders of the Primary Associations for their members input and validation  Coordinator, Leaders and ANWBN
4. Collected Feedback from Primary Associations on the MOU and the Code of Conduct


Coordinator, Leaders
5. Discussed and incorporated member input on MOU and CoC before the final draft was produced for leaders’ s


Coordinator, Leaders
6. Researcher submitted to the Coalition’s Task Force, Coordinator and CIPE its method of research for review.


7. Researcher provided a brief progress report on research being conducted to both the coalition Coordinator and Task Force as well as CIPE.


8.  Researcher submitted the Draft Policy to

Coordinator and Task Force for research interpretation and a focus presentation


Researcher, Coordinator and Task Force
9. Coalition Task Force and Coordinator and Researcher presented research and draft policy documents to Advisory Committee


Advisory Committee


10. Produced a mini action plan for who the “Other Stakeholders” are and which Task Force/Advisory Committee members will reach out to which “Other Stakeholders” (Other Stakeholders = well-established members of the business community that are not already active coalition participants)


Researcher, Coordinator, Advisory Committee

and Task Force

11. Validation with the “Other Stakeholders (top non-member business leaders)


Group 2 – Patricia Agbakwu

Group 3 – Edobong Akpabio

Group 4 –  Nana Okuribido

Coordinator, Task Force, and Advisory Committee.

12. Each Primary Association:

a. circulated the final policy document among its members,

b. Collected the feedback from the members

c. Submitted the feedback to coalition Coordinator


ANWBN Primary Associations


13. Coalition held a meeting where the Coordinator and Task force reported to the house on the feedback received from the non-member business leaders’ validation of policy document.


The Coalition reconciled the feedback and discussed the synthetisation plan


Coordinator, Task Force, Advisory Committee and ANWBN


14. Meetings were held with Public Officials to present and brief them about the content of the policy documents.

The sensitisation plan was effectively executed in all part of the country by dividing into three Zones and each of the Chair will deliver her report.


Northern Zone – Nkiru Okpala


Eastern Zone – Winnifred Okeke


Western Zone – Nana Okuribido


Chief Alaba Lawson distributed the policy document to Legislative and Executive arms of Government as well as the wife of the President of Nigeria.






  1. One-day media session targeting Editors, Managers etc. on the role of BMOs and Business – November 17, 2016
  2. Business Agenda Launch – November 18, 2016
  3. Implementation of Advocacy Plans
  4. Others: Senate President has invited ANWBN to participate in a roundtable discussion on Women Economic Empowerment and Sustainable Development. ANWBN will be discussing Business Environment for Women in Nigeria.

I would like to give tribute to Chief Mrs. Bisi Ogunleye and Olori Bisi Olatern – Olagbegi for their contributions to the success of ANWBN.

It has been a great journey, my gratitude goes to CIPE for creating a platform for learning on how business associations can work together and achieve an effective policy change contrary to the misconception that women association cannot successfully work together. Furthermore, CIPE has shown that there can be success in advocating with a large voice.

I also appreciate the wonderful work done by Members of Board, all the members of Committees and taskforces formed to do one form of assignment or the other, without you we cannot have ANWBN.

The overall success of ANWBN belong to us all.

Thank you for listening.


Titilola Adisa


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