Women in Fragile States: Active Agents of Change

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Several officials and leaders currently in Abidjan within the framework of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group Annual Meetings on May 24, 2010, called on women to take leadership roles in peace-building efforts in fragile states.

Among the personalities were the AfDB president, Donald Kaberuka; Norway’s secretary of state, Ingrid Fiskaa; Sierra Leone’s central bank governor, Shehu Sesay, and the Mano River women’s network, Saran Draba Kaba. The call came at the end of discussions on resolutions 1325 and 1889 of the United Nations calling on women’s participation in peace and security efforts. Their role is all the more important given that 70% of the victims of conflict are civilians, with women and children constituting the majority.

Mr. Kaberuka, who went beyond the fragile states framework, recalled AfDB’s commitment during the women’s entrepreneurship summit that took place in March 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya. Speaking during the occasion, Mr. Kaberuka focused on women’s empowerment, underscoring that without women having access to financial resources which are essential; any economic growth will be questionable.

He emphasized that commitments by the AfDB during the summit would be respected. He announced that in efforts at strengthening partnerships with women business leaders, Graça Machel, New Faces, New Voices founder and co-chair of the summit, would take part in AfDB Annual Meetings.

The AfDB also expressed its commitment through its 2009-2011 Gender Action Plan designed to support the integration of efficient legal plans for the protection of women, young girls and boys in fragile states.

The AfDB is also resolutely committed to strengthening the capacity of its regional member countries regarding the integration of gender in efforts at attaining gender equality and women’s empowerment.