Africa Investments 

2020 Peace Forum: African Development Bank to fully engage on fragility and gender issues at the first “Finance in Common” summit

The African Development Bank will take an active part in sessions on fragility, gender and climate change at the “Finance in Common” summit, taking place virtually on 11 and 12 November as part of the 2020 Peace Forum. The Forum’s objective is to mobilise a concerted collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, will co-chair the plenary session with Rémy Rioux, head of the French Development Agency. The session will bring together nearly 450 public development banks. Together, Adesina and Rioux will lead a discussion on the dialogue between public development banks and other development players, including the private sector, NGOs, and civil society. They will emphasize the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals and the central role of multilateral public development banks in mobilising the resources needed to achieve them.

This first world summit of public development banks should make it possible to build a new coalition of financial institutions dedicated to development to face the new global challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, redirecting the financing towards inclusive growth, while taking into account the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Khaled Sherif, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Regional Development and Integration will speak in a session entitled “Human Security in Fragile Contexts: Scaling up Humanitarian and Resilience Investments”. He will be joined by Katherine Garrett-Cox (GIB Asset management), Peter Maurer (ICRC) and Shinichi Kitaoka (JICA). The panel will call for coordinated action by humanitarian, development, and private sector actors, to explore new approaches to funding in fragile contexts. The discussion will focus on strengthening resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and building more inclusive societies.

Through its “High 5” operational priorities, the African Development Bank has strengthened its support to fragile states, with financial commitments increasing by 51 per cent between 2014 and 2019, as compared to the period 2008 to 2013, according to report published in October 2020 by the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Development Department (BDEV). Some 345 operations with a value of $6.45 billion have been approved for these countries, where the primary development challenge remains multifaceted fragility.

Last year the Bank launched the “Desert to Power” initiative, an energy integration programme in the Sahel region, covering 11 countries and 250 million people. The goal is to install 1.1 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2030 and generate economic opportunities for local residents and thus develop overall socio-economic resilience.

In a second session entitled “Development Banks as Agents of Change Towards Gender Equality”, Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society at the Bank, will speak alongside Anne-Marie Levesque (FinDev Canada), Daniel Seymour (UN Women), Meral Murathan (Industrial Development Bank of Turkey) and Seblewongel Negussie (Green Climate Fund).

The panel will address the role and impact of development banks in achieving gender equality as described in Sustainable Development Goal 5 and in promoting inclusive and sustainable finance for gender-sensitive policies. To illustrate this commitment, the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) will present a field study on gender equality. This session will culminate in the reading and signing of a gender-focused statement of interest. It will complement the summit’s main declaration on the objectives of the new coalition of public development banks.

Women’s empowerment is one of the African Development Bank’s priorities. As farmers, employees and entrepreneurs, African women are the driving force for the continent’s economic development. Launched in 2016 by the Bank, the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative aims to promote women’s access to finance to reduce the obstacles that hinder them in the creation of economic activities. The current deficit in Africa is estimated at $42 billion.

Because legal, social and economic disparities between men and women remain significant in Africa, in 2015, the Bank introduced the gender equality index to measure and correct these disparities.

In another more recent initiative, the Bank and several partners launched the Women in Ethics and Compliance in Africa (WECA) network in October 2020. This initiative supports executives involved in the fight against corruption and non-compliance in companies and business activities. It is “a reaffirmation of the African Development Bank’s commitment to work to ensure that sustainable development is based on the reduction of gender inequalities, with a focus on key areas such as ethics and compliance,” said Vanessa Moungar.

Kevin Kariuki, Bank Vice President for Energy, Climate and Green Growth, will participate in a high-level panel on accelerating investment for climate change adaptation and resilience. The African Development Bank has developed innovative financing instruments to mobilize $25 billion for climate resilience by 2025. Kevin Kariuki will reiterate the importance of increased coordination among all actors, including public development banks, to lay the collective foundation for a stronger and more sustainable reconstruction in the post-COVID-19 era.

African Development Bank Group

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