Gender, Poverty and Environmental Indicators on African Countries 2010
African Development Bank Group
The Gender, Poverty and Environmental Indicators on African Countries Report is published by the Statistics Department of the African Development Bank Group. The publication provides some information on the broad development trends relating to gender, poverty and environmental issues in the 53 African countries. Gender, Poverty and Environmental Indicators on African Countries 2010 was prepared by the Economic and Social Statistics Division of the Statistics Department.
Equality between men and women is both a human right and a development goal. It is now widely accepted that gender equality and women’s empowerment are fundamental cornerstones for achieving development results. In September 2008, the Ministers of developing and donor countries responsible for promoting development and heads of multilateral and bilateral development institutions endorsed the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) to accelerate and deepen the implementation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The AAA has specifically outlined that developing countries and donors will ensure that development policies and programmes are designed and implemented to take into consideration one of the agreed international commitments, gender equality.
Recent evidence suggests that progress in Africa in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 is highly challenged. Evidence also shows that until the beginning of 2008 Africa was on track to meet many of its MDGs. However, with the recent food, fuel and financial crises there is now a high risk of slippage in meeting these targets, especially those related to health, education, and food security. As gender equality, a critical element in achieving all MDGs cuts across all these key livelihoods indicators, the threat of loosing out on achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa is much greater than ever before. Added to this is the increased threat of climate change which is further likely to compromise the limited gains made with regards to women’s role in food security and natural resources management. Moreover, while significant progress has been reported for indicators such as universal primary education and gender equality, no similar achievements can be reported on gender parity in secondary and tertiary education. Furthermore, the African Development Bank (AfDB) undertakes to ensure that its programmes and policies are responsive to the impact of the financial crisis on gender equality.
In the recent phase of institutional reforms, the AfDB has reaffirmed its commitment to provide the necessary technical and policy support to regional member countries (RMCs) in all priority development areas. As such, the Bank has a key role to play in promoting gender equality on the continent and providing regional leadership to addressing persistent weaknesses in development policies as regards women’s empowerment.
The AfDB’s Gender Policy of 2001 elaborateed the commitment to promote gender equality and sustainable human and economic development in Africa, and specifies guiding principles to achieve these ends. The Bank’s first Gender Plan of Action (GPOA) 2004–2007 aimed to outline an approach to operationalising the Gender Policy and to identify specific activities which would further support gender mainstreaming in the Bank’s operations, such as: developing programme tools and strategies, project tools for priority sectors, institutional capacity building, and organizational support. The goal of AfDB’s updated gender equality and women’s empowerment plan of action (UGPOA) is to support African countries in their effort to attain gender equality as a principal means to poverty reduction. The specific objective is to promote sustainable and equitable economic empowerment of men and women.
This article is divided into three sections. Section one introduces briefly the progress to date on the implementation of gender mainstreaming in the AfDB and the re-prioritisation of gender issues globally. Section two provides some of the opportunities and challenges related to gender mainstreaming both in the Bank and regionally. Section three outlines the guiding principles for the UGPOA and the areas of intervention that the AfDB would focus on during the implementation period 2009 - 2011.
Download Full Report