-Governor Milton Weeks
Milton A. Weeks, Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has said the bank will continue to push for women’s inclusion at all levels and sectors of the economy by ensuring female representation internally at the senior management level and up to CBL’s Board.
Governor Weeks, who served as keynote speaker at the second women’s conference organized by the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) under the theme “More Women, Better Boards,” said the conference recognizes that gender equality is necessary for sustained development.
Weeks explained that the purpose of inclusion of women at the Board’s level is to enhance good governance within the organization, and those who are selected should be well equipped to do so.
According to him, CBL has over the years implemented various programs and policies aimed at developing the economic potential and development of women.
Across the financial sector, the Governor noted that figures have not been collected on female representation on boards, “but I can assure you that those numbers would not be encouraging.”
He further said that the CBL will, therefore, begin to collect statistics from the women taskforce and use its approval process for board nominations from financial institutions, to encourage the inclusion of women at the highest level of decision making across the sector.
“I don’t take it lightly because it speaks to the major role that the CBL plays in Liberia’s economic development. It also speaks to the weight of the CBL’s mandate to promote good governance across the financial sector – the sector that greases the wheels of all the other sectors of our economy,” he said.
The CBL Governor then congratulated the organizers for the strategic approach to promoting diversity through partnership and constructive engagement with such a wide variety of stakeholders, including the CBL.
He said the CBL is proudly taking strides to promote gender diversity in a notoriously male dominated field such as banking, adding: “In realization of male domination of senior management positions, women are quickly rising in the Bank. They are taking on major responsibilities and blazing trails in highly technical fields such as payment systems and capital markets, taking the financial system to new heights.
“We will seek our Board’s endorsement to recommend to the Executive for onward submission to the Legislature a provision for gender balance on the CBL Board of Governors among the proposed amendments to the CBL Act that we will be submitting to the national legislature this year,” he noted.
At present, Governor Weeks said the Act demands that the board members bear a wide range of qualifications in the areas of business, finance and economics; however, it is silent on gender.
It should be noted, however, that over the last ten years the CBL Board saw consistent female representation, resulting in an average annual Board composition of 69% male and 29% female, which means at least one out of five persons.
Earlier, World Bank Country Manager to Liberia, Ms. Larisa Leshchenko, said that women are key to the economic development of Liberia.
“It has been proven that women have immense potentials as engines of growth and economic development. Consequently, empowering them becomes beneficial to the society at large,” she said.
The conference was intended to encourage better women participation at all levels, thus creating more diverse Boards to make good business sense. It brought together a cross section of women, to actively engage and fine the way forward on how to serve and be good board members.