UN Women and the African Development Bank Group strengthen their collaboration to advance women’s economic empowerment


The African Development Bank Group’s President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, named HeForShe Champion at the event.

Women's economic empowerment strategy launch

Nairobi, May 26 – Today, at the first side event on the margins of the African Development Bank Group’s (the Bank) Annual Meetings, UN Women presented its comprehensive Women’s Economic Empowerment Strategy, aimed at accelerating gender equality and fostering inclusive economic growth, at an event co-organized with the Bank.

Moreover, recognizing the critical role of collaboration, this event fostered dialogue between UN Women, the African Development Bank Group, and other key partners. This collaborative effort aims to drive transformative solutions for women's economic empowerment at the local, national, and global level, ensuring no woman is left behind. Attended by key stakeholders, including government officials, civil society leaders, private sector representatives, and international development partners, the event underscored the importance of a coordinated approach to fostering gender equality.

UN Women’s Economic Empowerment Strategy is designed to empower women through targeted initiatives that enhance their access to resources, opportunities, and leadership roles in the economy. The strategy prioritizes three key areas essential for achieving gender equality: women and the world of work, gender-responsive climate action, and transforming care systems. These are underpinned by promoting gender-responsive macroeconomic policies, addressing discriminatory social norms, and increasing financing for gender equality.

"Women's economic empowerment is not just a matter of social justice; it is an economic imperative. By unlocking the potential of women, we can drive sustainable development and foster resilient economies. The strategy articulates UN Women’s vision and priorities as an organization and ways of working to support women to thrive and economies to prosper," said Ms. Sarah Hendriks, UN Women’s Director of Policy, Programme and Intergovernmental Division.

This pivotal event marks a significant milestone in the collaboration between the two organizations as they join forces to address the economic disparities faced by women on the continent.  

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) prioritizes gender equality, placing women's empowerment at the heart of its Ten-Year Strategy (2024-2033) and its 2021-2025 Gender Strategy. This focus translates into real results: through AFAWA, the Bank approved $1.7 billion for women entrepreneurs across 43 countries, a tenfold increase in investments towards women-owned and led businesses. With over 18,000 women entrepreneurs already benefiting, and over 75% of sovereign operations assessed using a gender lens approach in 2023, the Bank demonstrates its unwavering commitment to women's economic empowerment.

“The Bank is committed to implement policies that promote gender equality, eliminate gender-based violence, as well as discrimination across Africa. We must listen and amplify the voices of women, while ensuring that Africa’s women have equal opportunity. Empowering African women is a moral imperative – as well as smart economics” said Dr. Beth Dunford, Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, African Development Bank Group.

UN Women also announced Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the Africa Development Bank as a HeForShe Champion. HeForShe is a solidarity movement inviting men and people of all genders to stand in solidarity with women to create a bold, visible and united force for gender equality.

In recognition of the Bank's proven track record of advocating for gender equality in Africa and President Adesina's leadership in this area, the Bank joins the HeForShe Alliance to continue spearheading transformative change toward achieving a gender-equal world.

As part of their HeForShe commitments, the African Development Bank reiterates its commitment to integrate gender considerations into its investment projects and operations. This includes conducting gender assessments, ensuring gender balance among project beneficiaries, and incorporating gender-responsive indicators and targets into project monitoring and evaluation frameworks. In collaboration with financial institutions in Regional Member Countries, the Bank will continue to promote gender-responsive policies, practices, and institutional cultures. Furthermore, the African Development Bank Group’s reiterated its commitment to achieving the Economic Dividend for Gender Equality (EDGE) certification, integrating gender equality and women's empowerment criteria into project appraisal, approval, and implementation processes.

The new strategy and the HeForShe announcement mark a call to action for all stakeholders, including policymakers, business leaders, and civil society, to join forces in implementing actions to empower African women economically. Together, we can create an Africa where women’s economic empowerment is the cornerstone of sustainable development and prosperity.

About UN Women

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. It works globally to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on four strategic priorities: Women lead, participate in and benefit equally from governance systems; Women have income security, decent work and economic autonomy; All women and girls live a life free from all forms of violence; Women and girls contribute to and have greater influence in building sustainable peace and resilience, and benefit equally from the prevention of natural disasters and conflicts and humanitarian action. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality.

About HeForShe

Created by UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women, the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality provides a systematic approach and targeted platform where a global audience can engage and become change agents for the achievement of gender equality in our lifetime. HeForShe invites people around the world to stand together as equal partners to craft a shared vision of a gender-equal world and implement specific, locally relevant solutions for the good of all of humanity. For more information, visit http://www.HeForShe.org/en

About The African Development Bank Group

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

For more information: www.afdb.org

Media contacts:

UN Women: Lilian Muendo: [ Click to reveal ]

The African Development Bank Group: media@afdb.org