According to a representative of the World
Bank, Umar Hamza, the Nigeria Governors’
Forum has ranked the Edo State Government
as the best reform-driven state in Nigeria.
Mr Hamza, who is Team Leader on the Women
Initiative for Socio-economic Empowerment (WISE)
programme, a proposed five-year project by the World
Bank, said that the ranking informed the selection of
Edo as a beneficiary of the WISE project.
Specifically, he stressed that the successes recorded
with past projects and reforms in the state gave Edo the
He disclosed this during a meeting of the Assessment
Team of the project at the Government House, Benin
City, with the Edo First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki.
Mr Hamza said Edo was shortlisted as one of the states
“ where the project will be done going by the
recommendations made by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum
that the state ranks the highest in terms of reform-driven
states in the country. ”
Mrs Obaseki said plans are underway to empower
18,000 widows and vulnerable women across the
state’s 18 local government areas on agricultural
She said her office is keying into the 200,000 jobs
initiative of the State Governor, Mr Obaseki, by
empowering women, who would take to agricultural
production and entrepreneurship.
“ We are targeting 1000 women from each of the 18 local
government areas to train them on poultry production. We
started the pilot phase under the Edo Women for
Agriculture and Enterprise Initiative (EWEAI) in March this
year and the outcome was successful.
“ We are also setting up women cooperatives and getting
partners to help us create smallholder women farmers
across the state in vegetable production with the intention
to export the vegetables,” she said.
Noting that her office is pursuing these wide-ranging
initiatives to discourage human trafficking, she said,
“ We want to put the necessary structures in place to
ensure that Edo will compete with Lagos in supporting
women empowerment.”
Mrs Obaseki said part of the plans include building an
academy where successful Edo female entrepreneurs
will train young girls on entrepreneurial skills, adding,
“We have identified the Lady Mechanic Initiative and
women cobbler to train returnees and young female
school dropouts to give them skills for sustainable
“ The Lady Mechanic Initiative is training young girls on
vehicle refurbishment and has refurbished many vehicles
for the state government. ”
The first lady also noted that her office is working to
link market women to financial institutions and create
opportunities for women in other business ventures to
access funds.

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