AfDB commits to prioritize gender

By Amy Lieberman 26 October 2012

A delegate addresses a women's empowerment rally in Nigeria. Photo by: Projekthope / CC BY-NC-SA

The African Development Bank is joining the list of multilateral development banks and government aid agencies that have gender strategies – but it’s not clear how it plans to actually incorporate this new plan into its funding decisions and work.

“The bank wants to customize its interventions … to consolidate technical credibility and strengthen gender mainstreaming,” Ginette-Ursule Yorman, manager of AfDB’s gender and social development monitoring division, reportedly said at a consultative strategy meeting this week.

Yorman also said an AfDB priority is to help countries develop gender statistics.

The AfDB Group’s gender strategy for 2013-2017 reportedly focuses on ensuring gender inclusivity factors into economic opportunities, social progress and political participation in Africa. However, the bank has yet to post the plan on its website and is not circulating it online.

The World Bank is another large multilateral development bank that has publicly prioritized gender.

About 83 percent of the World Bank’s lending and grants — totaling more than $29 billion — have gone to gender-informed projects, the bank said in a recent media release analyzing its progress on its gender strategy.

The U.K. Department for International Development, U.S. Agency for International Development, Japan International Cooperation Agency and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation are among bilateral aid agencies that also have gender strategies.

But a 2008 report by the U.N. gender rights agency, then still known as UNIFEM, showed that while certain commissions and organizations appeared to prioritize gender rights in their budgets, in the case of the European Commission, for instance, limited evidence supports practical interventions to address gender issues. 

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About the author

Amy Liebermanamylieberman

Amy Lieberman is a journalist based in New York. She has reported on migration, health and gender from the U.N. Headquarters, in addition to nine countries, including Cambodia, Colombia, Mexico and Nepal. Her work has appeared in, The Christian Science Monitor and World Policy Journal, among a host of other news outlets. She is a Master of Arts candidate in politics and government journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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