bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 4, Issue 12 — 29 June 2011
Africa Progress Panel
9-11 rue de Varembé
1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel +41 (0)22 919 7520
Where are the Women?
Many may argue that the appointment of Christine Lagarde to head the IMF is a triumph for women’s equality. And although we are yet to see what will substantively change with a woman in charge, the debate on how women can compete with men and how they make a difference has flourished. Time Magazine even published an article entitled “Why Women are Better at Everything. “ This is all very exciting and surely a provocative piece to stir the debate.
But when it comes to high-level events, where important African movers and shakers share platforms with their international counterparts, the lack of female representation is evident. Although women often represent 30%-50% of the participants or attendees, there are still few women on the panels or female keynote speakers. An example is the Commonwealth Business Council's Africa Business Forum (held last week in London), that brought together investors, regulators and prominent African leaders. During a two day event, no women were seen in any of their panels -although the Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, did moderate a session.
Another recent example is the Friends of Europe Africa Summit held in Brussels only a few days ago. This event brought together African and European figures, some of them female, but again, no women on the speakers’ list. This omission was recognized by the organizers during the session, but that does not change the blatant lack of female representation. Last month at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, there was only one woman among the six co-chairs - an APP member, Linah Mohohlo. Some people at this week’s AU Summit had no idea there was a Pre-Summit on Gender and Development taking place as well. The list of events goes on…
This lack of representation certainly is not due to a lack of amazing, competent, articulate or accomplished women out there, including African women. This inadequacy is due to an inability to break the status quo, which is predominantly male; a failure to connect the dots, and fairly feature women and their accomplishments; and ultimately a weak effort to represent reality, which of course involves women in a broader sense.
This reminded us of a recent post in Good Magazine that argued that “white men should refuse to be on panels of all white men”. We would argue that this idea could and should go even further: men should also refuse to sit on all-male panels.
After all, Africa’s women are key to the continent’s development and their voice should be more present at all events. Perhaps the outcome of these events may have been different had there been more women on stage.
If all the women in Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, decided they would stop working for a week, the economies of Africa could collapse.
- Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State while addressing the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on June 13, 2011
- The ICC issued warrants for the arrest of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, and the Libyan chief of intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, for crimes against humanity. While some experts consider the arrests as a major step to bringing Gadaffi and two others to justice, others warn that the warrant will undermine political settlement of the issue.
- Sudan and South Sudan sign agreement to demilitarize the contested Abyei region, despite reports of shelling and fighting between both sides. This diplomatic agreement represents an important step in one of Sudan’s conflicts.
- The government of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is facing internal conflict on two fronts – from the Niger Delta in the south east, and from Boko Haram –a radical Islamic sect that has declared war on the Nigerian State. As the government experiments with new ideas and attempts to refine its use of force, it faces criticisms, which are borne out of anger at prevailing economic conditions rather than religion, analysts say.
- After 31 years in power it seems that President Mugabe has hit a brick wall with regards to the support he previously received from former SADC leaders. Current leaders in Southern African states have grown weary of Mugabe’s everlasting reign and now look for new and transparent elections in Zimbabwe.
- Almost two months after the end of its civil war, Côte d’Ivoire is deep in the process of organizing its administration. With that comes the question of partnerships and contracts, particularly the ones that link Côte d’Ivoire to France. Are new ones to be renegotiated? (Article in French).
- International investors chose Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya as the best African countries to make investment in 2011. A survey conducted by Africa Business Panel among 800 business professionals involved with Africa shows that these 3 countries were earmarked as the continent's favourites when it comes to international investment.
- Gabonese civil society sends a letter of inquiry to President Obama asking him to take stock of a country with a democracy devastated by ruinous governance, but also to remind him of the meaning of his speech in Accra, and that it should serve as the basis of relations with African leaders.
AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
- AfDB budgets $145m for the establishment of a climate fund for Africa known as the “Clim-Dev Africa Special Fund”
- The AfDB approves a $48m budget support grant to finance Liberia's Economic Governance and Competitiveness Support Program
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) sign an agreement to help AfDB set up a trade finance program to boost African trade and, more broadly, South-South trade
- Africa increasingly affirms itself as the locomotive that will foster global growth
- AU ramps up efforts for ceasefire in Libya
- COMESA says African countries should learn from China's development path
- COMESA, EAC and SADC negotiate for the establishment of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area
- ECOWAS says it will explore the possibility of emulating the integrated approach to development that has transformed China into an economic giant for the benefit of its citizens
- OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook predicts that Food prices will remain higher in the next decade than in the past 10 years as agricultural production slows down and demand increases
- UN envoy in Africa calls for mobilization of youth for development
- Vienna Energy Forum participants calls for bold steps and strategic public-private partnerships to guarantee universal energy access by 2030
- Empowering women helps fight poverty and other social ills, UN official stresses
- Experts addressing UNCTAD's Public Symposium agree that the financial crisis isn’t over, saying now is not the time for austerity measures leading to drastic cuts to social safety nets
- WTO Director-General announces a trade facilitation deal set out to reduce trade costs and boost trade
- Disruptive shocks to the global economy are likely to become more frequent and cause greater economic and societal hardship, according to a new OECD report.
- According to the ‘2011 Failed States Index,’ African nations make up seven of the top 10 worst cases, and 14 of the top 20 failed states.
- Civil society groups from more than 25 countries in Africa issue a report urging African member countries to show support for the ICC at the upcoming AU summit.
- OECD releases a preliminary report outlining a strategy for green growth in the agricultural sector. The report aims to identify the challenges and opportunities of a green growth path for the food and agriculture sector.
- A new report entitled “Adapting for a Green Economy: Companies, Communities and Climate Change” makes the business case for private sector adaptation to climate change.
- Findings of a new global WHO series report that “more 'climate-friendly' investments in transport, energy and housing could help prevent significant non-communicable diseases.
- Up to 3.6 million deaths could be avoided each year in 58 developing countries if midwifery services are improved by 2015, according to a new report launched by the UNFPA.
- Ghana Business News (Ghana): Global hunger could become a permanent disaster, 28 June 2011
While addressing the 37th FAO conference, Kofi Annan warns that the current food crisis, with almost one billion people hungry, could turn into a permanent disaster. To tackle global food security, he calls for increased international cooperation and an African revolution, centered on improving the lives of smallholder farmers.
- All Africa : Cut Aid to Regimes Tolerating Graft, U.S. Urged June 27, 2011 While the US has been professing the importance of democratic states it has also been rewarding anti-democratic leaders all over the world, particularly in Africa. These leaders have benefited from generous aid bounties while at the same time baffling human rights, depleting valuable resources and rigging elections.
- Pambazuka News (Pan Africa): The Malabo extravaganza, the AU and a ‘sacrificed agenda, ’23 June 2011
Disappointed by the AU’s willingness to host its summit at a luxury complex in Equatorial Guinea despite the government’s violation of human rights, Eyob Balcha says the summit will not improve the lives of ordinary Africans and that the summit’s theme of youth empowerment will be the last thing on the mind of delegates.
- Huffington Post (USA): Childhood Vaccination: Introducing a Promising Milestone for Tomorrow's Children, 22 June 2011
Former Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Brundtland, writes about the impact the $4.3 billion commitment made to GAVI last week will have on global health innovation. She argues that the present momentum must be continued to reach the 2 million children worldwide with life saving vaccines.
- Financial Times (UK): Beware the perils of a Libya after Gaddafi has gone, 20 June 2011
As NATO ramps up military efforts to eliminate Muammar Qaddafi and his regime in Libya, plans to ensure a successful democratic transition lag far behind. Daniel Byman warns that an uncertain political future could impede the country’s democratic prospects and calls on Western powers to begin to lay the groundwork for transition in Libya.
In the blogs...
- Poverty Matters Blog : Weaning countries off aid June 28, 2011
Allen Kagina, commissioner general at the Uganda Revenue Authority, explains the need for aid to support tax collection for better mobilization of domestic revenue, the only way to reduce aid dependency.
- ONE Blog: New mobile tech helps doctors track disease and supplies in real time Jun 23, 2011
Mobile technology has gone beyond its traditional use and is on the verge of revolutionizing healthcare in Africa. With the invention of the EpiSurveyor software doctors and nurses can stay up to date with medical inventories, stocks and important data using their mobile phones.
- World Bank Blog: How can Zimbabwe avoid having the world’s worst Human Development Index? June 23, 2011
Years of economic mismanagement and political turmoil has relegated Zimbabwe to the bottom ranks of the HDI. In this blog, Martin Ravallion analyses the shortcomings of the HDI and how Zimbabwe could increase human development.
- ONE Blog: Looking forward from lusaka, 16 June 2011
In the blog, a US firm(Whitaker Group) focused on creating sustainable prosperity in Africa, outlines three major takeaways from l10th AGOA Forum held in Lusaka.
- G20 Agriculture Ministers adopt an action plan on food price volatility and agriculture that supports initiatives on food production and information exchange
- Australian parliament publishes a comprehensive report outlining 17 recommendations on how its government should improve relations with Africa
- Government of Canada, Teck and Micronutrient Initiative announce partnership to implement lifesaving zinc treatment programs to help save lives of children in developing countries
- Canada increases support to the GAVI Alliance to help protect the lives of the world's most vulnerable children through immunization
- Nigeria and China sign a bilateral agreement to enhance food security in the country
- China-Africa Trade and Economic Relationship Annual Report 2010 provides a history of China-Africa trade and economic relations
- The EU agrees to lift a ban on development aid to Niger, responding to the ending of military rule in the West African nation.
- Foreign Minister Westerwelle announces Germany’s continuing support for the peaceful secession of Sudan
- Russia is set to work jointly with the African Union and the UN to forge a political solution to the Libyan crisis
- The UK Government calls on business leaders to drive more investment into the poorest countries and use the power of the private sector to boost aid efforts
- The UK Government pledges to scale up aid to Nigeria
- Henry Bellingham, Foreign Office Minister for Africa, speaks about trade and prosperity in the region
|4-6 July||Third Africa Carbon Forum: Marrakech, Morocco|
|11 July||Launch of the UNCTAD’s Economic Development in Africa Report 2011|
|17 July||Sao Tome et Principe Presidential Elections|
|18-19 July||Third Global Review of Aid for Trade — 2011: Geneva, Switzerland|
|12 August||International Youth Day|
|21-27 August||2011 World Water Week: Stockholm, Sweden|
|24-27 August||Innovation and Sustainability Conference and Expo: Kampala, Uganda|