Experts have called on African countries to expedite efforts of women’s empowerment so as to realize global development aspirations in Africa.
This came as the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) hosted an expert group meeting that brought together policy specialists and academia to review its upcoming African Women’s Report on costing the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, which dwells upon achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment.
In 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development along with its 17 goals, including SDG 5, which the UNECA considered fundamental to the overall progress on the agenda.
"However, the evidence presented at the meeting indicates that no country in Africa is currently on track to meet any of the goals by 2030," the UNECA said in a statement issued Friday.
The UNECA further cited a recent African Centre for Statistics data that estimated at the current pace, gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa will only be achieved by 2094.
Sweta Saxena, chief of staff and acting director of the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division at the UNECA, stressed that implementing measures to achieve gender equality commitments by 2030 requires countries to first understand the additional investments required and subsequently mobilize the necessary resources to finance such actions.
"There is a strong commitment to SDG 5. But the question remains how to achieve it. This question resonates with our meeting’s theme and the upcoming edition of our African Women’s Report on Costing of SDG 5 in Africa," the statement quoted Saxena as saying. The African Women’s Report is scheduled to be published later this year.
She said the UNECA has endeavored to demonstrate, in a practical way and with examples and case studies, how to estimate the investments needed for interventions towards achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
In their interventions, the experts recommended that African countries should adopt a multi-sectoral and integrated approach to identifying data discrepancies and mainstreaming SDG 5 across relevant departments to address existing gaps.
They emphasized the need for a common methodology for identifying investment needs for SDG 5, thereby emphasizing the importance of coordination and collaboration among stakeholders across Africa.
The expert also called on the UNECA to develop training programs to support African countries in collecting sex-disaggregated data and strengthening partnerships with stakeholders, as part of broader efforts to accelerate progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa.