An economist, Dr Ifediora Amobi, of AfriHeritage has urged Igbo traditional leaders in the South East zone to abolish customs that forbid their women from inheriting their late father’s property. The Igbos are one of Nigeria’s 3 major tribes. Dr. Amobi spoke in Enugu recently that the abolition of such traditions would enable women to use land as collateral to obtain loans and either set up cottage industries or expand their businesses.
“Igbo women are very enterprising; they are very energetic. One of the reasons I am very passionate towards ensuring their empowerment and upliftment is also because they are constrained by customs,” he said, “Our culture and our tradition constrain them from really achieving their full potential. Everything, from inheritance to land ownership, our system is very patrimonial, and we have to at least in this day and age be able to relax more of those cultures and those customs. We also appreciate the fact that women are the engine of development especially at the rural level and (we should) give them all the support and encouragement they require.”
According to him, research has revealed that women have the highest success rate of managing cottage businesses and loan repayment. “With the co-operative societies it would be easier to build big cottage industries as well as get credit facilities from financial institutions,” he added.
Amobi, who is the Executive Director of African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage), Enugu, and member of the governing council of Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) also advised women to form co-operative societies to work with the institute.
AfriHeritage, formerly African Institute for Applied Economics (AIAE), is a pan-African independent organization with a focus on economic research, capacity building, and networking. AfriHeritage (formerly African Institute for Applied Economics (AIAE)) was founded in 2000 by Charles Chukwuma Soludo with a vision to build an Africa’s equivalent of the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC.
The Institution was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in Nigeria in 2000, but started operations in 2001, with its corporate headquarters located in Enugu, South Eastern Nigeria.
Charles C. Soludo became its founding Executive Director and the first Board of Directors included: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Ginigeme Mbanefo, Nasir el-Rufai, Akpan H. Ekpo, and Charles C. Soludo.
In 2002- 2003, other members joined the Board of Directors: Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Collier, Ralph C. Bryant, Jeffrey C. Fine, and Brian Wilson. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala resigned from the Board in 2004 following her appointment as Finance Minister of Nigeria.
In 2015, the following were appointed to the Board: Matthew Hassan Kukah, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Osita M. Ogbu, and Donald Duke. Charles Soludo has been chairman of the Board since 2008. In July 2003 when Charles C. Soludo joined the federal government of Nigeria, Eric C. Eboh was appointed the Executive Director and he retired from the position in August 2012. Consequently, Ifediora Amobi was appointed as the Executive Director in August 2012.
In November 2012, the African Institute for Applied Economics (AIAE) was renamed African Heritage Institution with the acronym AfriHeritage. The change in name was to reflect both a deepened philosophical underpinning as well as the broadened scope of activities beyond applied economics.