The African Development Bank, the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and the ENERGIA International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy have jointly launched country briefs offering new insight into gender and energy in Africa.

The briefs, covering the East African states of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, also guide future gender-sensitive development sector projects to ensure men and women reap the benefits of energy interventions.

The launch concluded the “Gender and Sustainable Energy Access in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda” virtual event, hosted by the Bank on 24 November 2020.

The event drew together over 300 participants from three continents. The panelists, mainly gender and energy experts and high-level decision-makers discussed women’s role in the global energy transition and the urgent need for sex-disaggregated data and evidence.

Vanessa Moungar, Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society at the African Development Bank, opened the session with a presentation on the country briefs’ significance and usefulness.

“The data collected for these briefs as well as the multi-stakeholder engagement at the national level enabled us to obtain specific recommendations for each country, which can be used by decision-makers, policy-makers, as well as by CSOs, to make better informed decisions and design more impactful programming,” Moungar said.

ENERGIA’s Principal Investigator Annemarije Kooijman presented the briefs’ main insights and provided recommendations for governments to strengthen gender responsiveness in the energy sector, positioning gender equality as a critical enabler for an inclusive and sustainable energy sector.

Highlighting some of the recommendations, Kooijiman said to help realize gender goals, governments should (i) commit to gender mainstreaming, (ii) collect and update data disaggregated by sex, age, rural/urban, income, (iii) develop knowledge and skills in gender analysis, including providing guidelines and procedures for implementation, and perform monitoring and impact assessments (iv) invest in gender-responsive approaches in policies and programs, and ensure budget commitment.

Participants noted that gender gaps remain a barrier to equal access to modern and cleaner energy services for women. This led to a discussion on how the COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated gender inequalities in society, including on energy access. With families spending more time at home due to lockdowns and school closures, the need for energy is more urgent than ever, panelists said.

“Women do most of the cooking, cleaning, and caring for the family. As a result, they suffer the greatest impacts of energy poverty,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, Acting Director General for East Africa, African Development Bank.

She stated that when women are excluded from energy governance, decision-making processes are more likely to result in policies that ignore the unique needs, knowledge and contributions of women.

The moderator of the event, Anne Kuriakose, Senior Social Development Specialist of CIF, also underlined the importance of women’s climate leadership in the energy space—from participatory planning processes that include women from local to national levels; to efforts to expand women’s energy employment, including STEM-based jobs as CIF investments help catalyze.

In his closing remarks, Professor Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the Bank, said the briefs have raised awareness of the imperatives of promoting gender and sustainable energy access in Africa, and how these can inform policy instruments at the national, regional and international levels. “Our ultimate goal is to build inclusive and sustainable economies.”

To review the briefs, click here:

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