AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT FUND

 

 

STATEMENT OF THE AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

AT THE THE 23" EXTRAORDINARY SESSION

OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: WOMEN IN

THE YEAR 2000

 

 

NEW YORK JUNE 2000

 

 

 

 

 

STATEMENT OF THE AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK AT THE 23`d EXTRA

ORDINARY SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: WOMEN IN THE YEAR

2000

 

Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

On behalf of the African Development Bank (ADB), my delegation would like to convey its deepest gratitude to the United Nations Secretary General for the invitation to this landmark event which brings together such distinguished personalities from all over the world.

This occasion represents the greatest honour to me, the first daughter of a highly empowered woman, my mother, and may I pay tribute to other mothers all over the world who single-handedly raise children, giving them equal chances to a better education and equal chances to better their lives, irrespective of their sex. It is also the proudest moment for my 13 year-old daughter and indeed to girls of her generation to talk on behalf of the ADB and its achievements 5 years after the Beijing Conference.

Mr. President,

The mandate that was given to financial agencies at the Beijing Platform for Action was to provide opportunities for the empowerment and mainstreaming of women in the economic area and to eliminate gender biases in their operations. In this respect, I am pleased to report that this mandate has acted as the catalyst for a number of activities undertaken by ADB at the policy, project and institutional level.

At the policy level for example, ADB's New Vision Statement clearly identifies poverty reduction as the primary development challenge facing Africa, which is a priority area of concern in the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action. Thus the utilization of the Bank's resources are crystallized around four themes that are central to women's empowerment, namely agriculture and rural development; human capital development, private sector development; and, good governance.

Furthermore, the Lending Policy and Guidelines adopted to operationalize the Vision Statement underscores mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and projects in order to facilitate a dynamic and central role for women. The guidelines also emphasize the application of gender analysis tools to development planning and the utilization of gender sensitive indicators to assess the effectiveness of the Bank's approach. In this respect, it is important to note that the Bank has adopted a Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA), in which women's empowerment constitutes an element of assessment, as the basis for the allocation of resources to Regional Member Countries. This tool enables the Bank to determine the quality and effectiveness of the policy, legal4and institutional frameworks for the advancement of women of Beneficiary Countries in areas such as the education of girls, health services and the implementation of proequality legal reforms.

Mr.President,

In line with the beijing platform of Action, ADB has reviewed its poverty alleviation strategy, and policies in agricultural development, health, education, population, cooperation with civil societies and governance to reflect the gender perspective.

In promoting gender mainstreaming, Mr. President, the African Development Bank has adopted a two-pronged approach, namely through sectoral interventions and through financing women in Development Projects. Thus, between 1990 and 1998, a total of 134 gender-related projects in sectors such as agriculture, health and public utilities were financed. Examples of such projects were:

the Rural Water Project in Zimbabwe and the Rural Electrification Project in Malawi which improved women's access to potable water and increased their productivity in food processing;

the Palm Oil Project in the Central African Republic and Sugar Project in Madagascar which have encouraged the establishment of women's marketing cooperatives and enhanced family life;

education projects in countries such as Benin, Djibouti and Senegal, among others, which have specific components that benefit exclusively female students with a view to raising female enrollment ratios in basic education; and

the health projects in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Mozambique, which provide specialized series for women of child-bearing age and children in rural areas.

Since 1997, a new generation of poverty reduction projects including those in the Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Mali, Tanzania and Uganda have been designed to be participatory and demand-driven and pay special attention to reducing poverty among women.

In addition, 12 women-in-development stand-alone projects have been financed in Senegal, Mali. Malawi, Gambia, Guinea and Ghana, to name a few, all of which seek to address issues such as women's lack of education, access to factors of production and social services.

Altogether these poverty reduction activities that ingrain gender mainstreaming and the WID stand alone projects amount to USD 17.2 million, that is 11.2% of the cumulative Bank Group commitments for the period 1990-1998.

 

Another initiative by the Bank worth mentioning is the African Development Fund micro-finance initiative for Africa, also known as AMINA which was set up in 1998. The objective is to strengthen the capacity of existing African micro-finance institutions to deliver a wide range of financial services to micro-entrepreneurs.

At the institutional level, the ADB is implementing an number of measures through its recruitment and promotion procedures to enhance the participation of woman staff members in the senior echelons of the Bank.

Mr. President,

Although we are happy to report the progress made by the ADB, the Bank recognises that there is still room for major improvements. Consequently, a steering committee for gender issues has been recently established with a clear mandate to determine and prioritize gender reforms, formulate and action plan, and develop gender targets, among others.

In addition, the Bank is in the process of reviewing and elaborating its policy on gender equality, which will guide its lending and non-lending activities. It is the fervent expectation of my delegation that the priorities and new perspectives arising from this conference will be reflected in this gender equality policy document.

I wish to conclude by emphasizing that the focus of this Conference, which is to monitor progress made in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action lies at the heart of ADB's gender work. I wish, therefore, to reaffirm the commitment of ADB Group to promote Gender and Development issues in Africa. It is the hope of my delegation that the Conference will result in practical recommendations that will give new vigour and lead to the acceleration of the implementation of the Platform for Action.

Thank you.