Improving family-friendly workplace policies in Nigeria, including access to quality childcare for parents, could boost private sector productivity and benefit employees, children, and businesses in the country, according to a report published on Tuesday by International Finance Corporation and the Nigerian Exchange Limited.
The new report, investing in Childcare: A Game Changer for Businesses and the Nigerian Economy; found that only five percent of Nigeria’s private sector employers invest in childcare despite 67 percent of working parents reporting that they were more productive at work when they had easier access to childcare.
According to the study, investing in childcare by offering on-site or near-site childcare services, or the financial support to access childcare, presents an opportunity for employers to improve employees’ productivity, reap the efficiency improvements, and boost business outcomes.
The report estimates that by 2025, the demand for childcare services in Nigeria’s private sector is likely to increase by 10 percent.
However, childcare providers face barriers to scale and meet the growing demand, especially because they lack access to formal capital and investments.
The study found that 76 percent of childcare providers faced challenges in accessing formal financing, highlighting an opportunity for partnerships and investments in addressing market gaps.
Commenting on the report, Temi Popoola, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Exchange Limited, said that access to effective and affordable childcare is vital to ensuring a productive, engaged, and inclusive workforce.
“This report presents a compelling business case for stakeholders, both in the capital market and the broader private sector, to step up actions and collaborate on crucial measures to improve workplace solutions for childcare, as it will benefit companies, employees and the overall economy,” he said.
“Childcare and family-friendly work policies are often overlooked aspects of social and economic development—but they shouldn’t be,” said Dahlia Khalifa, IFC Director for Central Africa, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
“This report reinforces the value in expanding family-friendly workplace policies in Nigeria to support social and economic development,” he added.
Launched on the sidelines of the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, the report assessed the needs and challenges of 7,000 stakeholders, including employees, employers, and childcare providers.
Demand for childcare in Nigeria is forecast to increase rapidly along with the country’s population.
The report’s research covers six commercial hubs in Nigeria: Enugu, FCT-Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers.
The report was funded by the IFC-led Nigeria2Equal Initiative, launched in 2020 in partnership with Nigerian Exchange Limited to increase women’s participation in the private sector.
Through the initiative, IFC and NGX are working with private sector companies listed on the Exchange to implement gender-smart solutions that reduce gender gaps across leadership, employment, and entrepreneurship.