2008 International Women’s Day

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As part of celebrations marking the International Women’s Day( IWD), AfDB Group staff express their opinions on women’s conditions on the continent.

Mrs. Orraca-Ndiaye, Lead Expert, Resource Mobilisation and Partnerships

"The African woman has come a long way. She is now heading toward complete emancipation. In Liberia, we have a government led by a woman who has made a major break-through in expunging the copuntry’s huge external debt, stabilising the economy and initiating the reconstruction of the war-torn country with zero tolerance for corruption as her mantra. The Gambia has a female vice president who discharges her functions creditably. Uganda  and Senegal have had female vice presidents who were outstanding in the performance of their mandates alongside male heads of state.  For me, therefore, the African woman incarnates the fight  against and not the face of poverty. The challenges they face in this combat are enormous and they need every assistance to succced."

Mrs. Laeticia Mukurasi, AfDB Gender Specialist

"Studies have shown that a low proportion of bilateral official development assistance (ODA) was focused on gender equality within a five-year period (1999-2003), averaging US$3.1 billion out of a sector-allocable US$17.2 billion.  Equally, it has been estimated that the financing gap for achieving Goal 3 of the Millennium Development Goals – promote gender equality and empower women – in low-income countries, ranged from $8.6 billion in 2006 to $23.8 billion in 2015.

These developments are of importance to the Bank as a development finance institution because through its gender policy, the Bank promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment.  Equally, the Bank made a commitment to create a tool to track the level of financial resources invested in promoting these issues and the gender impact of its investments."

Mrs. Bate Arrah, secretary

"Achieving gender equity in policy formulation and enforcement is essential to the efficacy of Bank operations. The Bank should explore innovative ways aimed not only at recruiting, retaining and promoting women into leadership positions, but also at empowering them. This would enable the Bank to create a corridor for gender balance and equality which is, without doubt, one of the factors to help Africa achieve overall social well-being for all its population."

Mrs. Maïmouna Dabo-Diouf, AfDB Staff Council Chairperson

"Out of 170 million people living below the poverty line in Sub-Saharan Africa, 70% are women, especially women living in rural areas, says FAO. In 2007, the number of refugees increased tenfold, and 80% of them are women and children.  In this regard, why are African women symbolize poverty? The main reason is that women have limited access to resources, arable land, trade, industry and to positions of responsibility. Their strategies are rather based on survival and health. "

Mrs. Myriam Neïla Conté, AfDB Procurement Officer

"For many African women, the 1995 Beijing Declaration and other international instruments signed by their governments have not really improved their daily lives.. Women have the feeling of being on the lowest strata of society because they have limited access to land ownership, credit, health and education. Added to this is the HIV/AIDS epidemic which affects women more than men in Africa who unfortunately suffer abuses during armed conflicts.  It has been noted that it is generally easier for men to find work and businesses managed by men are easily supported by banks.  The biggest obstacle appears to be the lack of access to education which constitutes, without a doubt, the surest way out of poverty. Is it not regular to see situations where if a choice has to be made by a poor family to decide on which child to send to school, the boy child is always favored?"

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