The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network, Breaking News Tanzania

“It will take the next 70 years for Africa to achieve Gender Equality!” Experts confirm

With the financing gap for the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa standing at USD 1.3 trillion per year, the continent still has a very long way to go before attaining its SDGs targets.

Speaking on behalf of Oliver Chinganya, the Director of the African Centre for Statistics, at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Chief of the Demographic and Social Statistics Section, William Muhwava, pointed out that Africa needs at least an additional USD 800 million per year towards meeting the SDGs.

Muhwava was addressing delegates at the Africa Gender Statistics Forum 2024 held in Botswana.

On the other hand, while development assistance for gender equality has increased every year since 2015, funding for gender data and statistics has fallen by nearly half compared to averages from 2019.

“At the current pace, gender equality will only be achieved in 2094,” said Muhwava. That is seven decades from now.

Meanwhile African policymakers, gender experts, and development actors are calling on countries and the region to invest and collaborate more to finance the production and use of gender data to improve the lives of women and girls.

Senior public sector officials and civil society actors from nearly 40 African countries convened in Gaborone, Botswana for the Africa Gender Statistics Forum 2024 (AGSF24).

They were taking stock of the continent’s progress and gender perceptions in the Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the third Africa Program on Gender Statistics.

Held under the theme Pooling Together for Gender Statistics: Financing the Numbers that Make Women and Girls Count, the 2024 theme is informed by the International Women’s Day 2024 call: Invest in Women, Accelerate Progress.

 “Investing in the production and use of gender data and leveraging this for gender equality is thus the crucial shared goal of AGSF24,” said Aleta Miller, Representative for UN Women’s South Africa Multi-Country Office (SAMCO).

As one of the most significant annual meetings of producers and users of gender statistics in Africa, the AGSF provides an invaluable platform for raising the bar on how the region makes available and uses the data that can be applied for evidence-based policy and decision-making, including gender-responsive budgeting to improve the lives of African women and girls.

“This is a valuable opportunity to strengthen regional collaboration, share best practices, and strategize on how best to raise and pooling resources for the production and use of gender data,” said Ms Bridget John, Botswana’s Permanent Secretary for Youth, Sports, and Culture.

“Sharing expertise and fostering cross-pollination of ideas through this cross-disciplinary forum will ensure that we gain the new practical knowledge necessary to move forward this agenda,” said Principal Secretary John.

The bottom line remains that gender data and statistics are crucial to effectively catering for the diverse realities of women and men, boys and girls in Africa’s development.

“Without a gender-specific approach to statistics, the planning and implementation of policies, programs and projects will not sufficiently take into account the difference in the status of men and women,” said Koffi Marc Kouakou, the African Development Bank’s Principal Gender Statistician-Economist speaking on behalf of Nathalie Gahunga, Manager of AfDB’s Gender and Women Empowerment Division.

The sixth AGSF is jointly hosted by Statistics Botswana, the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), PARIS21, the Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC) and the United Nations’ Women under the auspices of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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