Investing in gender equality for Africa transformation
‘Without gender equality, there can be no development’
The Gender Strategy is a central part of the Bank’s ambitious vision for Africa based on the reality that gender equality is integral to Africa’s economic and social development. The vision includes creating opportunities for women, disavantaged and marginalised people and communities so they can participate in and benefit from the development of their communities and nations. Read more
Too often the narrative on women in Africa is characterized by oppression and marginalization in a system that tends to work against them. While the case is not untrue, it is important to acknowledge women who are changing this narrative and inverting a whole paradigm. The number of female entrepreneurs entering the business space has been growing rapidly over the past decade.
New innovations in the food industry, one of the world’s oldest and largest industries, are creating attractive opportunities on the African continent. With unusual blends of spices and bold flavours, ingredients and techniques from African regions have emerged as the new gastronomic trend in kitchens around the world. As on other continents, the agro-food industry plays a fundamental role in the creation of income and employment opportunities in Africa’s developing economies.
Africa has ample energy resources (including fossil fuels and renewables), enough to meet its energy needs, yet the continent struggles to ensure that this bounty reaches its people. Over two thirds of Africans lack access to modern energy. Sub-Saharan Africa is significantly affected, where just 290 million out of 915 million people have electricity access; and nearly 730 million Africans rely on the traditional use of solid biomass for cooking.
When I look back on a career of 50 years striving to expand choices for women, one of the proudest accomplishments I share with other feminists of my generation is that while young women of today face challenges, they are very different from the barriers we confronted. While there is still much to do, we have come a long way.
As the world marks the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016, access to affordable finance for female entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers through the provision of “equal economic opportunity for all” continues to be discussed extensively. This year’s theme, Pledge for Parity, calls on all individuals to join forces to ensure gender parity. It is most relevant as women have long been excluded from formal financial processes and have had to turn to the informal sector (savings schemes and cash transfers) to support unmet financial needs.