SADC: Making the economy work for women

SADC: Making the economy work for women

Date: October 11, 2017
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By Lucia Makamure

Johannesburg, 9 October: The African Women’s Development & Communication Network (FEMNET), in partnership with the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University (CWGL), Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Christian Aid and UN Women are this week hosting the first ever African Feminist Macroeconomics Academy (AFMA).

The Academy that has brought together gender activists, academia, researchers and journalists from across Southern Africa seek to bring a feminist analysis of macroeconomic policy.

Speaking at the official opening of the one week training academy, FEMNET’s Executive Director Dinah Musindarwezo said unless African governments acknowledge the critical need for transforming macroeconomic policies to respond to the needs of women and girls the continent will fail to fully attain inclusive and sustainable economic development that works for all its people.

“Women who make up over half of Africa’s population are conspicuously absent from the decision-making processes as regards macroeconomics and yet they are the greatest losers on issues of Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) that ravage our economic growth. These glaring discrepancies on the economic platform must change for Africa to fully prosper” said Musindarwezo.

Professor Radhika Balakrishana, a Professor in Women and Gender Studies and Faculty Director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University (USA) and a key trainer to the AFMA event highlighted that; “The global financial crisis has created recognition of the need to reframe macro level policies in ways that are in tune with human rights and more effective for achievement of social justice and gender equality.”

She added that there is a need to have equitable national development policies and guidelines that ensure that policy space will be used for the realisation of rights and gender equality rather than the further concentration of wealth and power and expansion of inequality.

The AFMA 2017  brings  together 30  senior level representatives from women’s rights organizations, academia & researchers all poised to unpack the intrigues around engendering the macroeconomic discourse against the growing impact of Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).

These illicit outflows constitute 5.5 percent of the GDP in Africa and are larger than incoming total foreign direct investment and also vastly larger than the sum total of all official development assistance (ODA) flowing into these countries. Commercial activities account for 65 per cent of IFFs.

In convening AFMA 2017, FEMNET, CW, GL and partners hope to enhance the capacity of African women’s rights activists and feminists to influence macroeconomic policies and outcomes and ultimately create an economy that works for all.

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