Leaders push for concerted efforts to close gender gap in Africa

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-25 22:39:47|Editor: Mu Xuequan
Video PlayerClose

KIGALI, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- The 4th Global Gender Summit kicked off on Monday in Rwandan capital city Kigali, where African leaders pushed for concerted efforts to close gender gap in Africa.

This is the first time that the biennial summit takes place in Africa, after previous summits being held in Turkey, Philippines and the United States. The first edition in Africa presents a unique opportunity to showcase the work done on the continent to advance gender quality and women's empowerment, and to garner partners' support to accelerate impact and scale, according to the ministry of gender of Rwanda.

The three-day summit dubbed, "unpacking constraints to gender equality," brings together over 2,000 delegates including heads of state, develpment partners, non-governmental organizations and academia. It is organized by African Development Bank Group and hosted by the government of Rwanda.

Achieving gender equality in Africa demands strong and concerted efforts to break the barriers, said Sahle-Work Zewde, president of Ethiopia, at the opening ceremony of the three day summit dubbed, "unpacking constraints to gender equality."

"There is no Africa that we want or progress in the continent if women are not included. We need to ensure that our institutions are gender-equal, and that our programs, policies and campaigns reflect gender equality," said Zewde.

Progress on gender equality in Africa has been "slow and uneven", a reminder of the urgency for closing huge gender gap in Africa in order to drive development on the continent, according to her.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said narrowing the gender gap is "everybody's responsibility".

"We got it from the beginning that there is a lot of work to do in terms of narrowing the gender gaps," he said.

He emphasized that strong and concerted efforts are needed to make sure achieving gender equality in Africa is well entrenched.

To achieve full gender parity in Africa, countries need to address barriers that discriminate against women and girls in accessing equal opportunities with men in education, finance, employment and politics, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC).

According to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2018, presently there is still a 32 percent average global gender gap that remains to be closed.

Equal and full participation of women can add an additional 28 trillion U.S. dollars, or 26 percent, to global annual GDP by 2025, a study by consulting firm McKinsey was quoted by Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank.