Investing in gender equality for Africa’s transformation
Geraldine Joslyn Fraser-Moleketi
Mrs. Geraldine Joslyn Fraser-Moleketi is the Special Envoy on Gender of the African Development Bank. Previously, she occupied the position of the Director of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Democratic Governance Group, overseeing the organization’s related strategic and policy work in 197 countries and territories around the globe. She was also appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations as a board member of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. Prior to joining UNDP, she served successive terms as Minister for Public Service and Administration in South Africa (1999 to 2008) and as Minister for Welfare and Population Development (1996-1999). She also served as National Deputy Elections Coordinator for the African National Congress from 1993/1994 in the lead up to South Africa’s first democratic elections of April 1994.
In December 2014, I delivered the keynote address at the African Forum on Inclusive Economies, which was co-convened by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Rockefeller Foundation, and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The Forum was timely, addressing the question of how to strengthen economic inclusivity in Africa as a strategy to boost growth and ensure its sustainability.
Imagine a scenario where billions of dollars are draining from the economies of Africa’s 54 countries every year. Where productivity is being systematically cut out from the continent’s labour force and a heavy burden continually placed on government services. Today there’s no need to imagine. It’s a hard-hitting reality. And it’s down to violence against women. The economic and social costs are all too tangible, those of human suffering beyond imagination.
On Thursday, August 14, 2014, I attended the inaugural Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) Women Summit. The theme of the Summit was “20 Years of Democracy – The Role of Women in Shaping the Landscape of the Financial Services Sector”.
Recent media attention has highlighted how Ebola has hit women the hardest and how the epidemic is threatening gains in gender equality made in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. On Aug. 14, the Washington Post reported that across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, collectively 55 to 60 % of those dead were women.