The Ambassador of Sweden to Nigeria, His Excellency, Carl-Michael Gräns, says the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would increase by 23 per cent by 2025 if women are given equal economic opportunities as men.
Mr. Gräns spoke on Friday at a press conference organised by Plan International to commemorate the International Day of the Girl-Child in Abuja.
He revealed that the Swedish government has a feminist policy that promotes the rights of women, especially girls in areas of rights, representation and resources amongst others.
“Gender equality is necessary for the attainment of other rights. It also shows that equality fosters global peace,” Gräns said, urging government at all levels to create spaces for the political participation of women.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Dr. Oji Ogbureke, Head of Programmes & Business Development, Plan International Nigeria, said the Swedish embassy and his organisation “are collaborating to promote the rights of girls.”
According to him, Plan International as an independent, nonprofit humanitarian organisation, partners with relevant stakeholders to address development issues that affect girls, women and other vulnerable groups across the country.
The poignant juncture of the global event was when a Miss Joy Alegbemi-Life, a 13-year-old girl who took over as Sweden’s Ambassador to Nigeria last week, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intensity efforts in rescuing Leah Sharibu, who is being held by Boko Haram insurgents.
She used the opportunity to call for equality for girls in Nigeria and across the globe.
“I want to see a world that treat women and girls equal with men and boys; a world that support girls every step of the way; not a world that sees girls and women as a waste of time and money. I want to see a world that respects us girls and women and knows that we can achieve something in life,” Joy said.
The theme of the 2019 celebration is “Girl Force: “Unscripted and Unstoppable”.
The day is dedicated to calling for more opportunities for girls and increase awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based on their gender.