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African women and girls targeted in growth push

By OTIATO OPALI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-01-11 20:17

A woman walks past a graffiti promoting the fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya, on May 22, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

African girls and women are looking to benefit from an initiative promoting gender equality as part of inclusive economic growth across the continent.

The African Development Bank's newly approved Gender Strategy for 2021-25 has the theme "Investing in Africa's women to accelerate inclusive growth". The strategy seeks to strengthen the bank's commitment to the empowerment of women and girls in Africa.

At the launch of the initiative on Friday, Vanessa Moungar, the bank's director for gender, women and civil society, said that the program is intended to remove the barriers that hinder women's contribution to development. She said the bank is intent on addressing obstacles to inclusive economic and social transformation for women across Africa.

"This is a significant milestone for the bank as it will guide our interventions in the next five years as we continue to increase our efforts to achieve outcomes and maximum impact on building gender equality on the ground for women to thrive," Moungar said.

She said the strategy is anchored on the three pillars of empowering women through access to finance and markets, accelerating employability and job creation through skills enhancement, and increasing women's access to social services through infrastructure.

On the day of the announcement, the bank's board approved a grant of $11.26 million to Chad to finance the Girls' Education and Women's Literacy Project, which is the first bank grant targeting women and girls.

The project will be financed from the bank's Transition Support Facility and will be implemented over five years by the Chadian Ministry of National Education and Civic Promotion, in coordination with partners involved in the education sector, civil society organizations, and youth organizations. Chad has committed to give a non-monetary contribution of $713,00 toward the program.

"Through this financing, the African Development Bank is providing support to the Chadian government to reduce inequalities through access to education, especially for girls. This enables the development of job skills and the improvement of women's productivity potential through literacy, job training and the development of income-generating activities," Solomane Kone, the bank's deputy director for Central Africa, said.

The Girls' Education and Women's Literacy Project plans, among other things, to renovate or rebuild school buildings and institutions serving girls. The project will help supply the schools with drinking water, solar power, school clinics, and girl-friendly latrines, as well as establish computer and science laboratories.

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