Involve More Women In Development Agendas, Says Donald Kaberuka, AfDB President
At the official opening day for the 3rd African Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit that was held last week in Lusaka, Zambia. Donald Kaberuka, the President of African Development Bank (AfDB) implored African countries to incorporate more women in development agendas to spur economic growth.
Kaberuka also said that AfDB is embarking on a mission to intensify gender equality in the Bank’s operations as well as in regional economic and sector work. “We are working to establish targets that include gender in analysis, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of all Bank-funded projects.”
It is important to point out that last year AfDB approved $125 million funding for the African Small and Medium Enterprise Programme to support Africa’s SMEs. This year’s summit was themed, “African Women, Realising Africa’s Economic Potential.”
Kaberuka reiterated the Bank’s mission this year of expanding its investment services such as loans, equity, credit lines and risk-sharing facilities. All of which are products by the Bank meant to improve women’s access to funds.
“In Zambia, the AfDB developed the Zambia Small and Medium Enterprise Support Programme, which includes targeting women-owned SMEs as a priority. Through this programme, the Bank has supported two commercial banks in Zambia through lines of credit to provide financing to over 70 SMEs, along with training in financial and business skills,” Kaberuka added.
Graça Machel, the Founder of New Faces, New Voices, gave her input in empowering women. She tasked African women to form strong and strategic professional networks that will enable them to have a greater influence among policy-makers.
She said, “We can positively improve the quality of the lives of our villages, communities and the rest of the society when we have access to the right knowledge and support. Scaling up is now a reality.”
Apart from the Women Empowerment agenda, the AfDB is also financing other projects in Zambia whose worth run up to $850 million. These projects include the Nkana Water Supply and Sanitation Project, Nacala Corridor, Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, Kazungula Bridge and skills development among others.