UNDP has designed a new project that will aim to build an enabling environment to boost women’s economic empowerment and political participation. Expected to launch in March, the project will support the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities and African countries to enhance youth and women’s political participation and representation; empower women economically; increase women’s productivity in agriculture; and integrate gender analysis in budgets, plans and reporting systems. Interventions will focus on promoting women’s access to knowledge and skills so they can produce quality products for export. To ensure women are elected to leadership positions and represented in public boards and tribunals, the project will also collaborate with African networks and endeavor to change perceptions on women as leaders and decision-makers. In the area of agriculture, priorities will include access to information, insurance, land, credit services and regional markets.
Women run just under half of Africa’s small and medium businesses and produce more than 80 percent of the continent’s food but they lack resources and influence in decision-making and are underrepresented in politics. Accelerating women’s economic and political empowerment are essential to closing the gender gap, improving the well-being of households and communities and achieving MDG targets all the way up to the national level. The project is in line with the AU’s African Women’s Decade (2010-2020). It was developed as a response to the discussion held between the UNDP Administrator and the AUC Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.