The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is committed to the promotion of gender equality across the continent according to the head, gender unit of the Bank, Ginette Yoman. She stated this at the 2nd African Women Economic Summit (AWES) jointly hosted by the AfDB and New Faces New Voices in Lagos, Nigeria.
The AfDB, according to Ms Yoman has an avowed commitment to the promotion of gender equality in all sphere of life in Africa, which is reflected in the institutionalisation of gender equality at the Bank and the quick response of the AfDB in fulfilling its pledges on supporting gender equality. “AfDB is deeply result-oriented and we have complied with the pledges we made to promote and support gender equality. The Bank has even gone beyond most of these pledges” she says.
The Bank according to the gender expert is providing technical and financial support for the African Women Economic Summit (AWES) by financing the various national chapters with the African Women In Business Fund. The Bank has also committed a budget of about $350,000 to support the Summit as well as helping to create awareness for AWES through its hosting of a gender equality forum as a side event at its annual meetings.
The operationalization of the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) which has a pan-African mandate and headquartered in Nairobi according to Ms. Yoman is due to the commitment of the AfDB which has already committed USD 10 million dollars to the Fund. “We have complied with our promise to inject USD 10 million into the AGF. We have demonstrated our leadership and willingness to support the cause of gender quality,” she said.
Ms. Yoman said that the AfDB embodies the principle of gender equality as a recent evaluation of its staff shows women accounting for about 50 percent of the Bank’s workforce. More so, women are well represented in the leadership positions in the Bank; and recently appointed two women as Vice Presidents. The percentage of women in all categories of the Bank has increased by 1 percent from 2010 to 2011 despite a 1 percent drop in board category.
The Bank has also committed to support projects that pass the gender equality test as a way of promoting gender balance. The Bank according to Ms Yoman will soon sign an MOU with the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) demonstrating the value the Bank places on the activities of Civil Society especially women-led CSOs.