“A revolution is building,” said Akinwumi A. Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, at the women’s leaders conference


The President of the African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org), Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, women at a conference in Pretoria on Wednesday said they are part of a revolution building across Africa.

The head of Africa’s leading development lending institution spoke at the Virtual Women Heads of State Initiative (https://bit.ly/37X6PPD), a new cross-media initiative being organized by Africa.com in partnership with Coca Cola Africa. The Summit pays tribute to incumbent and former Presidents and Prime Ministers in Africa. One of the highlights is the capacity building for emerging women leaders on the continent.

Adesina praised the achievements of women in Africa. He said that unlike women in other parts of the world who had to break through glass ceilings, “women in Africa had to break through male-dominated concrete ceilings”.

The President of the African Development Bank Group said recent boardrooms of the virtual Africa Investment Forum (https://bit.ly/3JDhD3k) – an initiative by Bank Group and other founding partners – have attracted $32.8 billion in investment interest , including $5 billion for women. run businesses.

The women heads of state initiative featured other speakers including Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, OBE, the Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone; Vera Songwe; Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa; Wanjira Mathai, Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, World Resources Institute; Mausi Segun, Africa executive director at Human Rights Watch; and Kuseni Dlamini, chairman of Aspen Pharmacare and Massmart Holdings.

Topics discussed included women in leadership and business, climate change, vaccine manufacturing and water security.

The conference also honored the 22 women who had served as President or Prime Minister of an African country. Guests of honor included Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila of Namibia; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia; Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, former President of Mauritius; and Joyce Banda, the former President of Malawi.

Referring to the issue of food security, Adesina criticized the barriers women face across the continent. He highlighted challenges including women’s lack of access to land, extension services and finance – despite women making up more than 60% of Africa’s peasant community.

“A revolution is building,” Adesina said, while highlighting the African Development Bank Group’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) (https://bit.ly/3IB4uX2) initiative. The program disbursed $450 million to financial institutions in 2021 to lend to women-owned businesses. In 2022, Adesina added, the African Development Bank will disburse $500 million to women-owned companies. He went on to explain that women in business in Africa face a $42 billion funding gap.

“Women need to go beyond primary agricultural production,” Adesina said. “They also need to dominate the agri-processing value chains, where most of the wealth is generated.”

President Banda expressed concern about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women’s progress. She said the pandemic has deepened poverty and caused thousands of girls to drop out of school. She added, however, that she was encouraged by the update from the head of the African Development Bank on his institution’s women-centric programs.

Banda said: “The organizations that support women in agriculture are really struggling…Malawi’s women farmers need help and need help now. There have been years when they have lost all of their earnings due to a lack of markets. But the companies that could help them raise funds don’t show up.”

President Johnson Sirleaf stressed the prospects for Africa, which she believes will be enhanced by an increasingly youthful population. She called for policies that focus on marginalized women. “As women leaders, we need to look at our own laws and our own policies and see: Are they conducive to the advancement of women who are at a level where you might consider them disadvantaged?”

Both Banda and Johnson Sirleaf shared plans to uplift women through their respective foundations. This included an upcoming conference in Malawi which will deal, among other things, with funding for organizations led by women. President Banda said only 1% of gender funding goes to organizations led by women.

The Women’s Head of State Summit was convened following the 2021 United Nations-organized Forum on Equality between Generations in Paris.

Photo album (https://bit.ly/3wyxXi0)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Media contact:
Gershwin Wanneburg
Communications and External Relations Department
[email protected]

About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is Africa’s leading development finance institution. It consists of three different entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). Locally in 44 African countries with a field office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and social progress of its 54 regional member states.

For more information: www.AfDB.org

This press release was issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the African Business editorial team and the content has not been reviewed or validated by our editors, proofreaders or fact-checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.


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