The joint African Development Bank and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Gender Index provides useful tools not only for engaging with stakeholders but also as a tool for holding themselves accountable for delivering on their commitments.
KIGALI, November 26, 2019 – The African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa today unveiled the first edition of the Africa Gender Index, aimed at informing policies to transform economies and to propel governments to adopt an ambitious agenda for making gender equality a reality throughout the continent.
The Index is published at a time when women’s empowerment is on the top of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda 2030 and the Africa Union Agenda 2063. But also, and more importantly, the index is marked by the outcome of the just concluding Africa Regional Beijing+25 which emphasised strides registered in Africa but also persistent challenges, and indeed emerging issues.
What is more, the Index’s release is during a year when the African Development Bank is creating the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program as part of its long recognition of the critical need for a gender-balanced approach to development and to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, with a $300 million risk-sharing facility for women owned and led SMEs to unlock access to commercial financing for women and a gender equality trust fund providing grant resources to support the guarantee facility activities (technical assistance/capacity building) as well as the Bank’s overall gender activities in regional member countries.
« No bird can fly with one wing. When Africa achieves full economic empowerment of women, it will fly with two wings and achieve its best growth rates ever » said AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.
The 2019 Africa Gender Index is the most comprehensive measurement of the state of gender equality across 51 out of 54 African countries: it examines the position of women as economical agent, in human development, and as active citizens and leaders, to provide African governments with a benchmark to evaluate the effectiveness of policies to advance gender equality. The Index provides maps for each area and highlights sectors where leadership is most needed at national, regional and international levels and presents suggestions for policy measures and investments that can change the status quo and generate gains for all Africans.
The report takes stock of Africa’s progress towards equality of opportunity for women and men, access to services and participation in civil and political life. It also draws on a review of African initiatives and policies that promote gender equality, and a collection of case studies emerging from UNECA’s and AfDB’s support to African countries. The report focuses on five areas: women and education and health, young women and jobs, agricultural development, climate change and energy, and leadership.
« Closing gender gaps is not a zero-sum game, but a road towards a future where everybody gains. Gender equality is a matter of economic efficiency and competitiveness, leading to the achievement of other key development outcomes » said Mrs. Thokozile Ruzvidzo and Mrs. Vanessa Moungar respectively UNECA’s Director, Social Development Policy Division, and AfDB’s Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society Department. « Our aim is to spark dialogue and inform debate on gender equality at national and regional levels, and wherever Africa’s development is on the global agenda. »