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Green jobs can help shift the climate of gender equality for African women

The Africa Investment Forum(link is external) has a strong track record of supporting the success of women business owners and entrepreneurs. Less well-known is that the Africa Investment Forum, an initiative of the African Development Bank and seven partners, also works to channel investment to sectors offering women better access to higher skilled and better paying employment.

As African countries mount robust climate action responses by ramping up adaptation and tapping sustainable energy resources,  a surge of green jobs is expected.  A significant proportion of these will be in the energy, transport, construction, and agriculture sectors, all priority areas of the Africa Investment Forum’s 2022 Market Days, which will open from 2-4 November in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Expanding opportunities for women to fill these jobs is a win-win situation. First, it has the potential to reduce persistent gender gaps in the African labor market. Green jobs are also projected to promote sustainable economic growth that can lift women and their families out of poverty.

There are additional reasons why women and green jobs are a natural complement.  According to ILO, “women, with their unique knowledge and capabilities of natural resource management and use of energy sources are strong change agents and key contributors to climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes at local, regional and international levels.”

Echoing this, Vanessa Ushie, Acting Director of the African Development Bank’s African Natural Resources Centre said, “Women play a vital role in managing Africa’s natural capital assets and building climate resilience in our local communities.”

Ushie was speaking following the launch of the Green Jobs for Women in Africa report in 2021.  That report acknowledged obstacles to overcome to position women for higher-paying and more secure green jobs. Too often African women are shut out of formal sector employment owing to social norms and limited educational opportunities.

The report urges countries to adopt strong enabling policies and programmes to  increase women’s access. The Africa Investment Forum has a role to play in this sphere as well. In addition to channeling investment to the transformational sectors mentioned above, the platform works with governments to put in place regulatory reforms and to build institutions that provide oversight and set incentives on labor and other relevant issues.

Market Days 2022 is themed Building Economic Resilience Through Sustainable Investments, acknowledgement of the need for transformative projects to reduce Africa’s vulnerability to shocks like the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and of course climate change.

The event will showcase billions of dollars of deals to investors and promote sectors where Africa has a comparative advantage, such as creative industries, music, film, textiles, and sports.

Since its inception in 2018, the Africa Investment Forum platform has mobilized investment interests in excess of $100 billion.

The platform is an initiative of the African Development Bank and seven other development institutions: Africa 50; the Africa Finance Corporation; the African Export-Import Bank; the Development Bank of Southern Africa; the Trade and Development Bank; the European Investment Bank; and the Islamic Development Bank.

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