Ezekiel Okpuzor, Esther Oluku and Hamid Ayodeji
The African Development Bank (ADB) Group and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have signed an agreement to accelerate gender equality, build resilience, and provide improved economic opportunities in Africa’s countries.
The ADB Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Jennifer Blanke, said her institution recognises that security issues cannot be separated from development.
She added that sustainable, healthy, inclusive, and humanitarian economic development is not possible without security.
Blanke said: “We have agreed to bring together our respective strengths and expertise to build resilience, gender equality, economic opportunity and ultimately to improve the lives of millions of Africans in fragile environments.”
During the signing ceremony President of the ICRC, Peter Mauer, revealed the importance of leveraging both institutions’ complementary mandates, adding that the Bank’s main stakeholders are African States.
Mauer, also noted that they work in regions where the State is absent for various reasons, “this complementarity can bridge the security-development gap, producing more sustainable results and enhancing development impact.”
The letter, signed by Blanke and Mauer, followed several strategic and technical engagements between the two institutions.
The AFD Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society, Vanessa Moungar, recently joined a joint mission in Niger at the invitation of Peter Mauer and the ICRC.
The objective of the mission, which saw the delegation travel across the country from Diffa to Agadez, was to meet displaced people affected by shocks such as economic crises, conflicts or natural disasters and explore the potential for income-generating activities for women, girls and youth.
The collaboration with the ICRC helped the Bank to contact remote communities and review its projects and initiatives in the region. During the joint mission stops in Diffa and Agadez, Moungar engaged with the ICRC and the National Society of the Red Cross teams who are giving direct support to women by providing income-generating activity skills.
The new Bank-ICRC agreement opens the door for collaborative opportunities under the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme. AFAWA is a pan-African initiative with the overarching objective of bridging the finance gap for women in Africa and unlocking their entrepreneurial capacity.