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“Investing in women and girls is smart economics,” says Fraser-Moleketi, AfDB Special Envoy on Gender

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) hosted Special Envoy on Gender, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi in Centurion, South Africa, on 05 February 2014 to discuss the AfDB’s recently adopted “Gender Strategy 2014-2018: Investing in Gender Equality for Africa’s Transformation”.

The event was attended by various members of civil society organizations, NGOs, government, students and entrepreneurs. It was an opportunity to converse on the practical implementation of the strategy and support the AfDBs commitment to gender equality. The discussion revolved around creating solutions that make a real impact on the lives of women and youth alike in Africa. As Fraser-Moleketi said, “We believe that investing in women and girls is smart economics and impacts everyone positively.”

It was agreed upon by attendees that the three pillars of the strategy, namely; women’s legal and property rights; economic empowerment; and knowledge management and capacity building; were integral to answering the ways in which the strategy hoped to balance gender inequality. The fact that it will be implemented in tandem with the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy is indicative of the fact that the AfDB is committed to the strategy and a thorough transformation of Africa.

Although Africa is rising at a predicted six percent this year, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has reported a 61% loss in development due to gender inequality. This illustrates clearly that more than 50% of Africa’s population is not being used optimally. The fact that only 20% of women in Africa have bank accounts means the vast majority operates outside the financial sector. Therefore theay do not have the opportunities nor the security financial institutions offer.

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