Niamey, 29 January 2016 (ECA/SRO-WA) - The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Government of Niger proceeded to launch the process of preparing the African Gender and Development Index (AGDI). The ceremony gathered over thirty participants from diverse government institutions in Niger and was chaired by Mr. Zoumari Issa Kallekoye, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Population, the Advancement of Women and the Protection of Children. Mr. Dimitri Sanga, the Director of ECA’s sub-regional office for West Africa attended this event.
This high-level meeting had a dual objective: (i) launch the AGDI implementation process in Niger by bringing all the actors concerned together; (ii) strengthen the capacities of the actors in order to ensure a better supervision and appropriation of the process.
In his inaugurating speech, Mr. Zoumari acknowledged ECA’s outstanding role with respect to its technical and financial support in the context of Niger’s development initiatives. In his opinion, “launching and introducing the African Gender and Development Index in Niger is an integral and logical part of its development strategy”. He explained further that this is “a specifically African index, accounting for Africa’s socio-cultural context, its underlying gender relations and its inherent gender inequalities as well as being based on national statistics”. Niger, he continued, “the index’s methodology being based on a participative approach, set up a Consultative Committee to convene a national introduction plan for the AGDI and facilitate the work plan of the research team”.
Speaking on behalf of the ECA which facilitated the meeting, Mr. Dimitri Sanga, expressed gratitude of his institution to the Government of Niger which had made great effort in the process of the launch. The choice of Niger, according to Mr. Sanga, “consolidates the dynamism of Niger’s cooperation with the ECA and this reflects as well in several, highly significant socio-economic indicators on this subject”. These will be part of Niger’s Country Profile of 2015 which is currently in the process of being finalized. Mr. Sanga added that “owing to the collection of qualitative and quantitative data” the introduction of the AGDI should make it possible, ”to evaluate progress in terms of gender parity and the empowerment of women on the basis of international and regional instruments”. Similarly, Mr. Sanga underlined, besides “being a tool for action and planning for Niger, the AGDI constitutes an opportunity for engaging development partners in actions of support and backing for gender equality and the advancement of women”.
The launching event of the introduction of the AGDI in Niger was punctuated by relevant presentations on the subject by Mrs. Ngone Diop, ECA Gender Advisor. Among the presentations the following should be particularly emphasized: recalling the main concepts of gender, the management performance methods and measurement charts for the advancement of women in Africa and in Niger, the integration of gender in policies and programmes and how to integrate gender in public finance policies and the budget. These were then followed up by working groups which made it possible for participants to further strengthen their capacities. They were finally completed by their Nigerien counterparts who provided information on the national gender policy and issues related to the advancement of women and to propagate gender equality. What all of the presentations highlighted is the firm determination of the Government of Niger to respond effectively to one of the main challenges of development, notably the reduction of gender inequalities.
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