(AfDB) - The African Development Bank and UN Women held their fourth steering committee meeting on 8 February 2019 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The two institutions have signed a memorandum of understanding in March 2016 and have since then implemented a joint roadmap to advance gender equality on the African continent. This steering committee meeting aimed to review progress and define next steps in the partnership.
“UN Women and the African Development Bank are long-standing partners. We are pleased to be working hand in hand with the common purpose of improving women’s lives in Africa and addressing the multiple challenges they face so that they can fully contribute to sustainable and inclusive development”, said the Bank’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, Vanessa Moungar.
In 2018, the Bank and UN Women worked together on several initiatives, including on improving the production and use of gender statistics on the continent by developing jointly the Cabo Verde country gender profile and a report on gender and poverty dimensions in Comoros, and organizing a regional workshop on gender statistics. UN Women is also contributing to the Africa Gender Index, whose production is ongoing by the Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Last year, the Bank and UN Women started a project to empower women in agriculture through access to information and communication technologies in Côte d’Ivoire, among other joint activities at country level.
In 2019, the two institutions will continue to strengthen their partnership, particularly around women’s economic empowerment. “UN Women and the African Development Bank share a joint objective: achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 – and making sure that women have the opportunity to play an active role in this agenda. With this in mind, we particularly work on targeted initiatives such as women affirmative procurement, in order to improve women entrepreneurs access to public and private procurement opportunities and integration into value chains”, said Oulimata Sarr, UN Women’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
Joint priorities for 2019 include facilitating access to finance for women entrepreneurs through the Bank’s AFAWA (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa) flagship program, promoting affirmative procurement for women-owned and -led businesses, developing gender statistics and country gender profiles, and strengthening climate-resilient agriculture, particularly in the Sahel.