Addis Ababa, 1 March 2022 (ECA) - A promising connection has been made between the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the quest for gender equality and women’s empowerment by the Acting Director of the ECA’s Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division, Ms. Edlam Yemeru. Ms. Yemeru made this analysis during discussions on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls in Africa. The virtual event, organized by the ECA, UN Women and UNFPA on the margins of the 8th African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD).
The event brought together stakeholders from the United Nations system, and other international agencies and organizations, together with development partners. The discussions reviewed the progress in Africa’s journey towards Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5, 14, 15 and 17. Participants reviewed the challenges and opportunities for a green and inclusive gender equality and women’s development.
Acknowledging that some of the gains made in gender equality were eroded by the pandemic. Ms. Yemeru highlighted the opportunity presented by the AfCFTA to enhance the capacity of African women for self-determination. “The AfCFTA creates a huge market and it is expected to bring together the continent in ways that will increase productivity and job creation.” She added. The growth and expansion of technologies promised by intra-African trade will also be of considerable benefit, particularly in enhancing the financial inclusion of women.
Resident Representative of UN Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Awa Ndiaye Seck, also praised the integration of progress indicators and targets on gender equality into the AfCFTA implementation process by the stakeholders. Stating that this constitutes “a significant step to monitoring and implementing a gender responsive development agenda and facilitates the building of evidence on the gender responsive implementation for Agenda 2030 and 2063.”
This ARFRSD is an annual multi-stakeholder platform organized by the ECA and the host government, this year, Rwanda, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and other entities of the United Nations Systems. This year’s main event will be held from March 3 to March 5, 2022 on the theme ‘Building forward better: A green, inclusive and resilient Africa poised to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.’
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