If Africa is to maintain its future economic boom, Women should be encouraged to be part of the journey, an African Development Bank Gender expert has said.
Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, AfDB’s Special Envoy on Gender said that Africa is at a critical stage in its development trajectory, and Women’s role in speeding up economic transformation on the continent is vital.
“The Africa we want gives room for greater innovation and stronger leadership to involve the full potential of men and women, young and old, “She said.
Fraser-Molektei challenged that if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase farm yields and raise agricultural output enough to lift 150 million people out of hunger.
“To create the necessary scale, one of the ways the Bank will do this is through building and capitalising on women’s technical and financial capacities to harvest their dividend,” she emphasised.
The AfDB envoy added that: “In essence, it is an Africa that provides a thriving environment for women and men to engage equitably in enterprise and public service delivery, and where no African men and women face institutionalised insecurity.”
Started on Monday, among the key areas being discussed at the ongoing African Development Bank’s annual meeting in Kigali is the role of Women in transforming the continent’s economy.
According to AfDB officials attending the meeting, economic changes in recent decades have shifted traditional power structures and witnessed the emergence of concepts that emphasize gender equality, conceding that across the continent, women play a pivotal role in agricultural production, rural economy, household-level nutrition and the reduction of rural poverty.
While delivering her remarks, Fraser-Moleketi said that she wants to see a continent that uses its resources fairly and is fully engaged in finding domestic solutions for its people.
“The first and most important thing is that African people – men and women have to join hands to continue building on their capacities.”
As a result, according to her, the AfDB’s strategy aims to tackle gender inequality through economic empowerment, improved legal and property rights and generating knowledge pertinent to gender equity.
“The institution will look to strengthen the economic foundations that empower women and equip them with skills and knowledge so that they can take advantage of economic opportunities,” said Fraser-Molektei
The Special Envoy on Gender noted that the Bank’s agenda supports efforts to grow viable women-led businesses and capitalise on the important role women have in managing natural resources and the environment.
“Agenda 2063, the African Union’s vision for the next 50 years looks to ensure a continent that is integrated, peaceful and growing, but also where no one is left behind. Business as usual will not get us to the Africa that rewards talents, creativity, and entrepreneurial vigour from both sexes.
To get to that, I believe that it is imperative that African states invest seriously into gender equality,” she said.