Sixth African Development Forum Takes Place from November 19-21-Action on gender equality, women’s empowerment and ending violence against women in Africa

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African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka, is participating in the 6th African Development Forum scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa from November 19-21, 2008.

The event has brought together over 500 stakeholders, representing African governments, civil society, academia, media, bilateral partners, regional and international organizations. The forum is  jointly organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union (AU) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group.

The African Development Forum is a multi-stakeholder platform for debating, discussing and initiating concrete strategies for Africa's development. This year’s ADF edition is focusing on "Action on gender equality, women’s empowerment and ending violence against women", not only drawing on the participation of those traditionally involved with these issues such as ministers of gender and women affairs, social development and health, and non-governmental organizations, but also African ministers of defense, foreign affairs, finance, justice, environment, police and security forces, selected parliamentarians, and representatives of Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Special attention has been given to the participation of community-based organizations to draw on grassroots initiatives and experiences.

The African Development Bank’s commitment to promote gender equality and women empowerment as a means of fostering poverty reduction, economic development and gender equality on the continent is outlined in its gender policy adopted in 2001. The policy specifies five priority areas, namely education, agriculture and rural development (including infrastructure), women’s poverty, health and governance. Its implementation is anchored in five core principles namely: i) the application of gender analysis; ii) the need to foster cooperative relations between women and men; iii) recognizing that women’s economic empowerment is key to sustainable development; iv) addressing diversity among women; and v) judicious application of the twin track strategy embracing gender mainstreaming and targeted interventions for women’s empowerment.

The Bank’s Gender Policy is operationalised through its Gender Plan of Action (GPOA) adopted in 2004 through actions in key priority areas, including development of gender mainstreaming tools; gender mainstreaming in programming, particularly in priority sectors; development of a critical mass of gender sensitive human resources; and the strengthening of networking with strategic stakeholders and partners.

A recent mid-term review of the Bank’s GPOA (2007) noted that the Bank had made major achievements that included the development of gender mainstreaming tools and their application in some programmes and projects as well as an increasing number of projects mainstreaming gender, evident in at least 33 per cent of the projects assessed and with some examples of gender mainstreaming best practices. The review also evidenced progress in providing a gender sensitive working environment through human resources development guidelines and an improvement in the gender gaps with the recruitment and appointment of women at senior levels. The review also commended the Bank for building stronger networks and partnerships. The Bank is also supporting efforts to build capacity to generate gender disaggregated data in the region.

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