Bank Director for Women, Gender and Civil Society at the Finance in Common online panel highlighted the bank’s commitment to achieving gender equality
Under the theme “Development Banks as Actors for Gender Equality Change”, the Director of the African Development Bank for Gender, Women and Civil Society, Vanessa Moungar, has joined the High Climate Representatives of Global Financial Institutions (GCF) and the UN. Women sign a joint statement on gender equality to strengthen their commitment at all levels.
The statement was one highlight of a Finances in joint summit panel, virtually presented by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) during the Paris Peace Forum on 12 November.
Panel organizers say gender inequality in sub-Saharan Africa costs $ 95 million every year. Director Moungar and other panelists discussed the critical role and impact of public-private development banks in achieving gender equality for inclusive economic growth.
According to Moungar, to change the status quo, the African Development Bank is taking the lead in efforts to address gender inequality and drive inclusive economic transformation for women across Africa by integrating gender into its activities as well as targeted initiatives, all supported by evidence-based policy dialogue.
“If women can participate in the continent’s economic growth and change their livelihoods, the economy in Africa will be transformed,” she said.
Moungar mentions that the Bank is investing in empowering women entrepreneurs Affirmative Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program – designed to address the challenges facing women in business, from access to finance and training to the lack of an enabling environment.
Meral Murathan, executive vice president of Turkey-based investment and development bank TSKB, said her organization was streaming gender approach to increase the impact at the grassroots level. “Gender equality is critical to strengthening our bank’s implementation of financial and non-financial operations. We believe that development banking actors play the key to the gender equality and equality agenda,” she said.
Panelists said that women are the driving force of today’s world economy, and that the gender dimension is increasingly being integrated into development projects to benefit women.
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, assessment, action plan and gender responsive policies in project design and implementation.
The organizers of the event said that the summit provides a unique opportunity to highlight the development of banks’ transformative power in empowering women and promoting gender equality.
Anne-Marie Levesque, Head of Gender and Impact of Findev Canada, spoke on Canada’s Bilateral Development Finance Facility (DFI) and the Gender Equality Development Strategy.
“Economic empowerment of women is at the heart of our mission, and we are moving more capital to invest in women with $ 4.5 billion investment so far,” she said.
Women as key drivers to build better, more resilient communities
The meeting acknowledged that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women has increased gender inequality around the world. Some have noted that women need to be represented in decision-making to accelerate gender equality and implement innovative and sustainable responses to environmental challenges.
To address these and other pandemic challenges, the African Development Bank Group has launched a $ 10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility (CRF) in April 2020. It provides a rapid, flexible and effective funding mechanism to assist African governments and the private sector.
“With equal access and participation, women can be a strong driver for recovery as we strive to build better economies and societies,” Moungar said.
Participants and panelists expressed opinions on how climate change affects women differently than men, and how women also contribute to climate change differently due to the different roles they play in society.
Representatives of The Green Climate Fund said that the fund’s gender action plan and funding policy for development banks had a strong commitment to link gender equality to climate change.
“Gender inequality is growing more with climate change,” said Seblewongel Deneke Negussie, gender and social specialist at the JRC. “Adopting a comprehensive gender approach requires a gender-smart climate investment to promote gender equality in access to climate-related funding opportunities and knowledge,” she added.
Dan Seymour, director of the UN’s wife for strategic partnerships and session moderator, closed the panel, saying: “If you empower a woman and inspire a woman another woman, we all grow as a chain.”
Watch the recorded high-level event here.
Amba Mpoke-Bigg, Department of Communications and External Relations, African Development Bank, email: firstname.lastname@example.org