Are Women the Key to the African Economy?

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In the African society historically, women have spent more time fetching water and firewood than contributing to the economy. Not to say that the role of women is not diverse but to say that the role of women in the society is evolving, even though at a very slow rate.

The women of Africa make a sizeable contribution to the continent’s economy. They are more economically active as farmers and entrepreneurs than women in any other region of the world. It is the women who grow most of Africa’s food, and who own one-third of all businesses. (African Development Bank, 2015)

The year is 2021, after numerous development forums, policy strides, and index reports, but the question is where do women stand in the African economy, and what are we going to do about it?

There is a gross level of gender inequality which has plagued the African economy, as such affects the overall well-being of its community. Africa’s female participation is roughly on a par with that of China, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, North America and Oceania, and Western Europe. However, most African women work in low-paid, often subsistence, jobs in the informal economy. (Mckinsey, 2019). This means that though African women are putting in effort as their peers in other societies, they are still at a disadvantage and still receive the shorter end of the “financial stick”.

Women’s lack of access to credit and financial control to make spending decisions on education and health are impediments to gender equality.
Margaret Kenyatta

If Africa steps up its efforts now to close gender gaps, it can secure a substantial growth dividend in the process. Accelerating progress toward parity could boost African economies by the equivalent of 10 percent of their collective GDP by 2025, new research from the McKinsey Global Institute finds.

Any activities that can be done to close that gap would not only be beneficial to an individual but contribute to the overall economy. Women are responsible for 60% of work done globally yet earn just 10% income and 1% of property (Global Partnership, 2019). This is indicative of a chasm which keeps women down and in a place of striving to meet up to their counterparts while still trying to fend for their families and advancing their careers.

Education is a key to development across the world; however, millions of girls are not in school now, and 4 million may never set foot in a classroom (UNESCO, 2019). Yet, advancing women’s equality the African economy could add 10% to GDP, or US$316 billion by 2025.

There is a direct correlation between a child’s gender and the possibility of realizing their rights and enjoying their full potential, with social norms favouring boys over girls in most aspects of life. (UNICEF) Differentiated treatment according to gender is particularly acute during adolescence, when many girls are faced with the prospect of marriage (often before reaching the age of 18), adolescent pregnancy, and gender-based violence, as well as a heightened risk of HIV transmission. The risk of dropping out of school is high for girls at this age.

Arts Talent Africa believes that women need their independence and opportunity to advance not only themselves but the African women community. This can be achieved through alternative education projects, developing their skills, creating marketplace, and inspiring women to the strength of their full potential.

Through such avenues, women can make more money for themselves at the value to which it is due, not a penny less. The knowledge of the African art market and their skills could also contribute to their spending power and ability to in turn, foster their community.

It takes a village to raise a nation, and now it is time to build the African Art economy

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