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Nestlé: more women in the workplace make business sense

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In the Central and West Africa Region (CWAR), Nestlé aims to bring the Gender Balance Acceleration Plan to life through its multi-pronged initiatives

ACCRA, Ghana, March 8, 2019 — Nestlé has launched an ambitious Gender Balance Acceleration Plan ‘From Aspiration to Action’ https://bit.ly/2UmlZ57 as part of its activities to highlight International Women’s Day 2019.

The world’s largest food and beverage company believes that a gender balanced workforce makes business sense as it helps to boost innovation and performance, which as a result, better serves the needs of its consumers.

Nestlé’s Global CEO Mark Schneider announced the company’s acceleration plan to make gender balance a priority, based on three pillars: bold leadership, an empowering culture and a set of enabling practices.

In the Central and West Africa Region (CWAR), Nestlé aims to bring the Gender Balance Acceleration Plan to life through its multi-pronged initiatives, such as trainings to raise awareness on gender biases, career development and mentoring programmes for women, gender-sensitive succession planning, offering breastfeeding rooms and nurseries at work, as well as the implementation of its Maternity Protection Policy. https://bit.ly/2Hlsq4O

Driving innovation

At Nestlé CWAR, increasing the number of women in the workforce and boosting gender balance is helping to drive innovation.

Bunmi Etty-Mfon, Total Performance Management Manager for Technical at Nestlé CWAR, who has led factory efficiency for over eight years to deliver safe, quality products in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, has encouraged and experienced this herself.

“When there’s a good mixture of men and women, team-building activities tend to be more balanced, helping to develop greater empathy among individuals and teams. Diversity stimulates greater effort from everyone, leading to improved decision-making.

“Also, as the majority of consumers in our region are women, it gives us great perspective to lead in innovation,” she said.

Rahamatou Palm, Category Manager for our Nescafé business in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Togo and Benin – and a member of the Cluster Management Committee of which half are women – agrees that diversity is key for the company’s growth.

“Gender balance is important to complement the thinking between men and women, leading to more productive debates and innovative decisions. It also fights against discrimination to ensure a better, and more dynamic workplace,” she emphasised.

Improving the company’s performance

Nestlé CWAR is also actively enhancing the company’s performance by increasing the number of women in departments that traditionally hire men.

To close the current gender gap, the Technical and Supply Chain Management departments are looking to recruit a majority of women as graduate trainees, and include at least one female candidate in the final interview stage. Efforts are also being made to increase the number of women working in factories across the region.

Ibukun Ipinmoye, Factory Manager of the Flowergate Factory, which includes the first 100% female production line in Nestlé Nigeria, has noted an increase in productivity.

“We soon realised that the female production lines are very productive thanks to their highly committed and collaborative spirit and their careful handling of the equipment. Gender diversity has helped to boost productivity,” he said.

“As a result, we plan to introduce female operators to more complex lines to utilise their multitasking skills, and aim to hire female management trainees to 80%.”

Gbenga Oladunjoye, Factory Manager for Nestlé Ghana, has also seen improved performance in his team.

“My team is more productive, with readily available good talent and a wide diversity of ideas. Women have helped to ignite creativity, offered various perspectives and improved our business,” he said.

Gbenga, who oversees the Tema facility and is part of the Country Management team, added: “They mostly make the decisions to buy products for their families so having women at Nestlé makes business sense.”

Overcoming biases

However, creating gender balance on the factory floors or in offices does not come without some obstacles. Pressure to conform to gender stereotypes, resistance from men, adapting work patterns to family life and maternity commitments, and the shortage of females in certain fields like engineering, are just some of the gender balance challenges that working women face.

Julia Atta, Production Manager for Milks in Nestlé Ghana, was appointed as the first female production manager for Nestlé CWAR last year – marking a milestone for the company in the region.

She explained that she went into this ‘non-traditional’ line of work for women to change mind-sets and make an impact. But this came with its challenges.

“For any women in a male-dominated environment, even a genuine reason can become a woman’s excuse. For example, I felt I had to turn down an opportunity to go into production because I got pregnant, even though factory management made me an offer. At the time, I was unsure it was the right decision to join, as production was not seen as an ideal environment for my ‘condition’,” Julia said.

“Thanks to the support of management, I had another opportunity to take up a role outside of the country for five months. However, others made me feel like I had made the wrong decision to leave my young child behind – but I was determined to make it work.”

Today, Julia heads the milk production and technical team, leading the production, quality, safety, cost and delivery of 130 tonnes of evaporated milk a day, while also developing her team of junior and senior employees.

Women leaders inspiring other women

Creating a solid pipeline of female talent across all levels enables more women to climb up the career ladder to top positions, which has a ripple effect of encouraging other women to achieve their goals.

“Being a career woman is never a burden or added responsibility, but a platform to inspire and motivate the people you are lucky enough to impact,” Julia continued.

“When a woman is appointed in a leadership role, some people believe this is because of a gender balance strategy and not based on merit. It must be based on non-discrimination, equal opportunities, competence and providing the right support for both men and women in the workplace. This is how we will be genuinely able to highlight and remove the roadblocks to career advancement at work,” she added.

Gbenga Oladunjoye, Factory Manager at the Tema facility in Nestlé Ghana, emphasised that women at Nestlé inspire other women to follow suit, and said: “They enhance inclusiveness, advance opportunities and give hope to women worldwide that they can achieve the same too.”

Building a strong pipeline of talent is key to gender balance

Embracing diversity and increasing the number of women in leadership roles and in the workforce all make business sense at Nestlé CWAR – and for the company worldwide. This is part of its commitment to enhance gender balance in its workforce and empower women across the entire value chain. https://bit.ly/2HcBib0

But this just doesn’t stop here. To help achieve this across the board, organisations need to build a solid and balanced pipeline of talent and invest in women’s education and training to create and instil diversity at all levels, and in all functions.

“We recognise that gender balance, women’s rights, education for women and women’s empowerment are critical to Creating Shared Value   https://bit.ly/2CT2H3h – our approach to how we do business in creating value for both our shareholders and for society,” said Rémy Ejel, Market Head for Nestlé CWA Ltd.

“It is also key to contributing to Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls  https://bit.ly/2q90yr9 – and we encourage other companies to also make gender balance a priority,” Mr Ejel concluded.

–  Nestlé CWA Ltd

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Africa CEO Forum: Sahara Group Links Success Of Integrated Trade To Infrastructure Development

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Kigali, Rwanda – March 26, 2019: Sustained infrastructure development is required across Africa to boost the prospects of integrated trade on the continent, Sahara Group has stated, as business leaders gather in Kigali, Rwanda for the 7th edition of the Africa CEO Forum.

Sahara Group’s Director for Governance and Sustainability, Pearl Uzokwe said the energy conglomerate would make a strong case for multi-stakeholder partnerships to shore up infrastructure development as “this is one of the most critical enabling factors required to achieve the ambitious ideals of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).”

Uzokwe noted that the disparity in landscape composition across the continent is one of the most daunting barriers to economic development.

According to her, “There’s no doubt that infrastructure development should be accorded a prominent position on the agenda for the continent’s CEOs. The non-uniformity of Africa’s landscape confers some measure of advantage on countries with coastal lines as against nations that are landlocked. How to navigate this and other challenges to facilitate an integrated trade scenario remains a critical issue. The business community must be prepared to articulate a collaborative position that will address the achievement of the estimated $170 billion infrastructure funding gap in Africa,” she stated.

Scheduled to attend several meetings to push this position, Uzokwe will also join the AFRICA CEO’s Women in Business Initiative workshop dedicated to “Drafting a gender diversity charter to reach equality in the workplace”.

She said all stakeholders billed to attend the meeting are confident that the charter would drive specific actions geared towards ensuring there is adequate representation of approximately half the world’s population while becoming a catalyst for increasing female representation and retention at various levels of organizational hierarchies.

Uzokwe added that she was hopeful that the charter would also inspire more interventions to drive gender equality and more access to education for girls and women in Africa. “We are intentional about women empowerment and gender parity at Sahara Group and will continue to lead conversations and collaborations in this regard.  Our support for women goes beyond just our employees as over two million people have benefitted from Sahara Foundation’s projects, with women and girls accounting for over 50% of the beneficiaries. Some of the initiatives include eye care programmes, scholarships, literacy development programmes, career guidance programmes and water & sanitation programmes and will continually look for ways to encourage sustainable growth and development in this regard”.

– SAHARA GROUP

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Economy

Swiss foreign direct investment in Egypt records $1.6B

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CAIRO – 25 March 2019: The Swiss foreign direct investment in Egypt reached $1.6 billion, marking an increase of $400 million during the last two years, according to Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr.

Nasr added that the Swiss investments take place in the fields of industry, energy, pharmaceuticals, financial services and food.

The minister also referred to the cooperation between Egypt and Switzerland in implementing development projects at an amount of CHF 330 million (LE 5.7 billion), and in supporting new projects which focus on economic sustainable growth and creating job opportunities through the cooperation strategy until2020 at CHF 86 million (LE 1.5 billion).

She elaborated that Egypt is not only the gate of Switzerland to Africa but also to the Middle East, expressing Egypt’s aspiration to cooperate with Switzerland in Africa, in light of Egypt’s Presidency of the African Union during the current year.

This came during the celebration of 110 years of economic and trade relationships between Egypt and Switzerland, in the presence of Egypt’s minister of investment and Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, who is currently visiting Egypt and Swiss Ambassador to Egypt Paul Garnier.

For his part, Cassis pointed out to the importance of enhancing the economic relations and increasing mutual investments and projects between both countries, affirming that Egypt is the gate of Swiss investments to African markets.

He also referred to the cooperation between both countries in the fields of education, industry and transportation, stressing his country’s keenness on the human element especially in the education field.

Cassis noted that this event comes in conjunction with the celebration of 110 years of Egyptian-Swiss economic relationships.

– EGYPT TODAY

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Banking / Insurance

GTBank Dominates CBN E-Payments Awards, Wins 8 out of 12 Banking Honours

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Lagos, Nigeria – March 25th, 2019: Guaranty Trust Bank plc continued its dominance of Nigeria’s most qualitative digital financial service awards for the fourth year in a row, winning eight of the twelve honours available to Banks in the 2019 edition of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS) Efficiency Awards. The foremost African financial institution, renowned for its innovative products and services, won awards for efficiency and excellent service delivery in virtually every E-payment channel.

The CBN EPIS Efficiency Awards is organized to celebrate financial institutions, merchants and other stakeholders at the forefront of driving electronic payment in Nigeria. Now in its fourth year, the awards are based on objective analysis of all E-payments data collated by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) over a full calendar year. With eight awards, GTBank took home two more honours than the six awards the Bank won the previous year and the highest number of awards presented to financial institutions, Fin-techs, merchants and other stakeholders in the Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme.

The eight awards won by GTBank include:

  • Best Customer Experience Award: for having the highest level of overall customer satisfaction rating in the delivery of electronic payment services to customers in 2018.
  • Real-Time Payments Transaction Efficiency: for achieving the lowest failure rate in the processing of Instant Payments transactions in 2018.
  • Cashless Driver, USSD Channel Champion: for achieving the highest number of Instant Payments transactions via the USSD channel in 2018.
  • Cashless Driver, Point of Sale (POS) Transactions: for achieving the highest transaction count on Point of Sale (POS) Terminals in 2018.
  • Cashless Driver, Card Usage on Point of Sales (POS) Terminals: for authorising the highest card transaction count on the Point of Sale (POS) Central Terminal Management System in 2018.
  • Direct Debit Driver Award: for processing the highest volume of successful debit mandates across all Payment Service Provider platforms in 2018.
  • E-Reference Operations Efficiency: for the Bank’s outstanding performance in the processing of customers references received from other Banks for account opening purposes on the industry E-reference Platform in 2018.
  • ID Services Driver: for achieving the highest volume in the use of the BVN, e-Passport and NIN customer verification platforms in 2018.

Commenting on the Bank’s EPIS awards, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, said; “We are proud to be recognised by the CBN EPIS Efficiency Awards for our efforts in driving excellence in electronic payments and providing customers with a superior banking experience across all digital touch points. These awards serve as extra motivation for us and we continue to find new and exciting ways to reduce our customers’ pain points and offer them benefits beyond banking.

He further stated that; “At GTBank we are passionate about building the bank of the future that connects our customers directly to all the everyday things that matter to them. That is why we are constantly leveraging the best of technology to, not only make financial services cheaper, more personal and readily accessible, but also to create amazing digital experiences in a way that adds real value to our customers’ lives.”

Guaranty Trust Bank plc is a foremost African Financial Institution with Total Assets of ₦3.287trillion and Shareholders’ Funds of ₦575.6Billion. With banking operations across 10 African countries and the United Kingdom, GTBank is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions in the countries in which it operates and serves as a role model in Africa’s financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service delivery and innovation.

GTBank

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