Gender equality vital for African development, UN-backed forum is told

20 November 2008 – Without gender equality Africa will be unable to achieve lasting development as it confronts the recent food, financial and energy crises, according to speakers at United Nations-backed conference now underway in Addis Ababa.

“Gender equality and women’s autonomy are absolutely essential for attaining a durable and inclusive development,” UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Executive Secretary Abdoulie Janneh told the 6th African Development when it opened its three-day meeting yesterday.

According to the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), poverty and the lack of decent jobs in the region weigh heavily upon African women.

The Forum, jointly organized by ECA, the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank, is to adopt a “plan of action with clear recommendations for member states and development partners to accelerate the realization of equality of the sexes and autonomy of women,” ECA said in a news release.

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