Women’s Economic Empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Where are we in 2021?

Women’s Economic Empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Where are we in 2021?
A panel discussion

Date: March 18, 2021 – Venue: Online (Zoom)

Time: 9:00am – 10:00am EST (2:00pm – 3:00pm GMT) (3:00pm – 4:00pm WAT)

Women’s economic empowerment is widely recognized by governments, international development institutions, and businesses as essential for human progress, economic development, and business success. This is why gender equality and women’s economic empowerment are critical priorities in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda five (1). In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), women face deeply rooted obstacles to achieving their potential at work and other parts of life. Not only does persistent gender inequality affect women, but it also impedes economic and social progress in the region. The African Development Bank has stated that “eliminating gender inequality and empowering women could raise the productive potential of one billion Africans, delivering a huge boost to the continent’s development potential.”

In SSA, women are already very active participants in the economy. According to the African Development Bank’s inaugural African Gender Equity Index Report, women “are more active as economic agents in Africa than anywhere else in the world.” The report notes that women perform most agricultural activities, own a third of all firms, and comprise 70 percent of employees in some countries. Women are present in every part of SSA value chains—as producers and business owners, executives and employees, distributors, and consumers. Despite these contributions, women face significant economic challenges in SSA. While most African women work, they still face financial exclusion, as their jobs are underpaid, undervalued, and mostly in the informal sector.

Accelerating progress on women’s economic empowerment in this decade and many decades to come will not be easy. The challenges are complex and tackling them will require significant commitment and investment by all sectors of society. It is on this backdrop that the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation is organizing this discussion to:

  • Engage stakeholders from the public and private sector, including policymakers, public authorities, economic experts, civil societies organizations, social entrepreneurs, to participate in public dialogue on Women Economic Empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Discuss the main barriers holding back women in SSA from achieving their full economic potential.
  • Identify practical actions institutions can take to advance women’s economic empowerment.
  • Evaluate sectors with the greatest prospects for women, and stakeholders who are well-positioned to implement or advocate for solutions.


Ayisha Osori

Executive Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA)

Prudence Fonkwe

Sub-Director for Advancement of Female Entrepreneurship, Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family, Cameroon

Dr Fuein Vera Kum

Research Fellow at the Nkafu Policy Institute

Dr. Denis Foretia – (Moderator)

Co-Chair of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation and Executive Chairman of the Nkafu Policy Institute

Date and Venue
March 18, 2021 at 9:00am EST (2:00pm GMT)/(3:00pm WAT). The event will be held on ZOOM and streamed live.

The event will bring together public policy experts, policymakers at the national, continental, and international levels, and civil society organizations’ leaders. It will be open to the general public with a session for Q&A



Mar 18 2021


3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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Zoom Online
Zoom Online


Foretia Team
[email protected]
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