The experts have met for the two-day meeting of the Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA’s) Committee on Gender and Social Development (CGSD), which is having its first session under the theme, “Sustainable Development Goals in Africa: Enhancing gender-responsive and social development policies.”
Established in 2013 as part of the reforms of the ECA and convened by ECA’s Social Development Policy Division, the Committee is charged with mainstreaming human development and concerns, such as employment, population and young people, social protection, and urbanization issues, into regional and national policies and strategies.
ECA says the theme of the meeting is consistent with the current global discussion on development and reflects the seriousness of dialogues and ideas and agreements made on matters of development during 2015 in the Financing for Development Conference, the Sustainable Development Goals launch and the recently concluded COP21.
Speaking during the opening of the meeting, Takyiwaa Manuh, Director of the ECA Social Development Policy Division, stated that Africa’s progress towards improved social outcomes is of the right sign and direction, but the pace of improvement is insufficient.
The Director said Africa has achieved progress in primary school enrolment, HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, and poverty reduction.
“Primary school enrolment recorded a 24 percentage point increase between 1990 and 2014 notwithstanding difficult and low initial conditions. The HIV/AIDS incidence rate dropped dramatically from 0.85 in 1995 to 0.32 currently. Prevalence rates have also dropped significantly,” she said.
“Gender parity decreases at higher levels of education of jobs has remained inadequate on the continent with particularly young people being absorbed by informal sector with diminished labor rights and social protection,” noted the director.
“Africa remains the second most unequal society and the rapid urbanization growing at an average annual rate of 4.3 percent but without an accompanying industrialization processes has created the most unequal cities worldwide and informal settlements and jobs,” she added.
The director underlined that a paradigm shift towards a seamless link between social and economic development is now the agenda for Africa.
The results of its first session of the Committee are expected to contribute to framing Africa’s gender and social development priorities. Enditem