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 Lieberman

    Amy Lieberman is an award-winning journalist based in New York City. Her coverage on politics, social justice issues, development and climate change has appeared in a variety of international news outlets, including The Guardian, Slate and The Atlantic. She has reported from the U.N. Headquarters, in addition to nine countries outside of the U.S. Amy received her master of arts degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2014. Last year she completed a yearlong fellowship on the oil industry and climate change and co-published her findings with a team in the Los Angeles Times.