The African Development Bank (AfDB) and partners have agreed to strengthen their commitment to gender equality.
The agreement is on the theme: “Development Banks as Actors for Change towards Gender Equality.”
AfDB Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, Vanessa Moungar, joined high-level representatives from global financial institutions and UN Women in signing a joint declaration on gender equality.
The declaration was one highlight of a Finance in Common Summit panel hosted virtually by the French Development Agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), during the Paris Peace Forum on 12 November, the bank says.
Panel organizers said gender inequality costs sub-Saharan Africa $95 million each year.
Moungar and other panelists addressed the critical role and impact of public-private development banks in achieving gender equality for inclusive economic growth.
She said to change the status quo, the AfDB is taking the lead in accelerating efforts to address gender inequality and drive inclusive economic transformation for women across Africa.
It is doing this through mainstreaming gender in its operations as well as targeted initiatives, all supported by evidence-backed policy dialogue.
“If women can participate in the continent’s economic growth and transform their livelihoods, Africa’s economies will be transformed,” she said.
Moungar said that the Bank is investing in empowering women entrepreneurs through it Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme.
It is designed to tackle the challenges women in business face, from access to finance and training to the lack of an enabling environment.
Meral Murathan, Executive Vice President of the Turkey-based investment and development bank, TSKB, said her organization is mainstreaming gender approach to increase impact at the grassroots level.
“We believe development bank actors hold the key to drive the gender equality and equity agenda,” she further added.
Seblewongel Deneke Negussie, Gender and Social Specialist at Green Climate Fund, told the audience that the organization only considers funding proposals that include consistent gender analysis.
GFC also considers, assessment, action plan, and gender-responsive policies in project design and implementation.
It also views women as key drivers to build back better, resilient communities
The meeting recognised that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on women had widened gender inequality around the world.
To address these and other pandemic-related challenges, the AfDB Group launched a $10 billion COVID-19 Rapid Response Facility (CRF) in April 2020.
It provides a fast, flexible and effective financing mechanism to help African governments and the private sector.
Representatives from The Green Climate Fund said the Fund’s gender action plan and funding policies for development banks had set a strong commitment to linking gender equality with climate change.