Access Bank in partnership with Scale Up Africa, has hosted leading women across Africa, in a hybrid Pan-African Conference as part of activities marking the seventh anniversary of its flagship ‘W’ Initiative.

The conference on the theme ‘Woman, be Unstoppable; Break the Bias’, sought to create an enabling environment for women to collectively promote a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination and embrace one that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. It also sought to inspire women across the African continent to look beyond biases they face and pursue their dreams.
Riding on this year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Break the Bias”, the hybrid event had over 2,500 participants joining from various countries on the continent in person and via virtual platforms.

In his welcome address, Olumide Olatunji, MD of Access Bank stressed the need for women to be unstoppable in their quest to achieving ambitious goals. “He alluded to research from Browne and Barrett, in their publication on Female Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Key to Development which says there is a strong association between education and an enhanced life, better nutrition, improved hygiene, low mortality rate, low fertility rate, and economic development.

Olumide noted that access to income and assets is another important factor in seeking women’s economic empowerment and was pleased to announce some efforts Access Bank had made in supporting women. “Our W initiative seeks to support upcoming entrepreneurs who have great ideas and can defend its viability. It is designed to bring together women around the world, allowing them to connect with each other and share experiences through forum discussions, informative articles, capacity building and networking events, thus creating access to markets”, he said.

Mr. Olatunji also shared some impacts made since the ‘W’ Initiative started seven years ago. “It is worthy of note that since its inception seven years ago, the W community has supported over four hundred thousand (400,000) women through a range of empowerment offerings including training on financial literacy, Knowledge Hub series, SME Startup Clinics, and Womenpreneur Pitchathon, Maternal Health Schemes, and loans among others. We have channeled over GHS 70 million into our ‘W’ Community and we will continue to provide support.”.

Delivering the keynote address, Ibukun Awosika, Founder and CEO of The Chair Centre Group motivated participants to champion their personal branding and set their minds on what they can achieve not the restrictions society put on them. She encouraged participants to always ask these pertinent questions regarding their self-promotion: “What do you want people to know about you? What do you want people to see about your work? She noted that because women usually work in contexts that usually do not maximize opportunities available to them, asking these questions will help to position them to bring out the best in them.  She advised women to be confident in their vision and talents and consistently enhance their skills. “You need to have a circle of believers around you. Those who will spur you on to achieve your dreams”, Ibukun added.

Other reputable women that graced the occasion included Joyce Bawa Mogtari, Joana Bannerman, Pearl Nkrumah, Beryl Agyekum, Miishe Addy, Irene Ochem, Justina Mutale and Roselyn Ngissah who all had their turn in sharing their journeys into their present positions in life. The exciting panel and conversations were moderated by Kokui Selormey-Hanson and Claudia Lumor.

The ‘W’ Initiative is the home of everything Access Bank has to offer women and is targeted at inspiring, connecting and empowering women with a focus on 3 segments including Women Professionals, Women in Business and Women & Family. The Initiative has been recognized by several awards including the Global Banking Alliance’s Highest Engagement Award and Women Banking Brand of the year by Sustainability and Social Investment Awards.

Operating from 53 business locations across the country, Access Bank continues to build solid long-term relationships with customers based on trust, digital innovations, good customer service and transparency. The Bank has over the years developed a deep understanding of its customers, delivering excellent services and empowering them to achieve more through financial education.


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