The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, says current challenges in bridging gender gaps are not just about gender, but mostly about addressing under-representation and a lack of women empowerment.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 2019 Global Gender Summit which is taking place in Kigali, Dr Adesina, noted that a smarter world must invest in women and girls.
“Let’s be smart, and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,” he said.
At the summit, Rwandan President Paul Kagame noted that a new mentality is needed.
“Narrowing gender gap is everyone’s responsibility and a change of mindset is what is required to ensure gender equality is achieved,” he said.
Official reports indicate that in Africa, 70 percent of women are excluded financially. In addition, the continent has a 42-billion-dollar financing gap between men and women. Women, who are the majority of farmers, also face a financing gap of close to 16 billion dollars.
Reacting to these trends, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said the African Union’s Agenda 2063 was deliberate about gender parity.
“What we are telling our heads of states is to take the bull by the horns. This discrimination is political, economic, and social. It is politically incorrect [and] socially unjustifiable not to take (gender) into account is a real waste,” Mahamat said.
As a move to address these gaps, the African Development Bank is doing its part to transform the financing landscape for women with the launch of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA).
Reports indicate that AFAWA aims to mobilize three billion dollars of new lending by banks and financial institutions for women in Africa.
So far, G7 leaders have recently approved a package totalling 251 million dollars in support of AFAWA during the summit in August 2019.
The 2019 Global Gender Summit is attended by the first ladies of Rwanda and Kenya, as well as representatives of the heads of state of Gabon, Mali, Senegal, Chad and the King of Morocco. Also in attendance are ministers of genders from Niger, Somalia, Senegal, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya.
The Summit runs from 25 to 27 November 2019 under the theme: ‘Unpacking constraints to gender equality.’