Women empowerment in Africa has received a boost, with the approval by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Spanish Fund for African Women Empowerment of 8.20 million euros to support 31 projects in Sub-Saharan African countries.
A statement from the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, made available to PANA here Friday, said the funding support came on the heels of the celebration of the 2012 International Women’s Day, marked across the world 8 March.
It is a testimony of the Fund commitment to development and empowerment of women in Africa, the statement said.
“NEPAD and the Government of the Kingdom of Spain share a common goal of advancing gender equality and gender equity,” NEPAD Agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, said in reaction to the funding.
“The implementation of the NEPAD Spanish Fund represents one of the key steps to achieve this goal,” he added.
Also commenting on the development, the Director of the Spanish Agency for International Development (AECI), Mr. Juan Lopez-Doriga, hailed NEPAD’s Gender Programme for its meticulous, thorough and diligent work in the selection process.
The projects, which were selected by the Steering Committee of the Fund in Madrid, Spain, on 29 February, are scheduled for completion between 12 and 24 month.
More than 600 proposals were received from non-governmental organizations, grassroots groups, academic institutions and Regional Economic Communities (REC) across sub-Saharan Africa.
The latest approvals are the second batch to be sanctioned by the Fund since 2007, when it was set up.
In the first phase, 46 projects were funded. Out of the number, 38 have been successfully completed while others are nearing completion.
Prominent among projects funded under the first phase were Incubators for African Women Entrepreneurs in regional bodies such as the Common Market for East Africa and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The NEPAD Spanish Fund is involved in the areas of health, economic development and education, in addition to promoting social and political participation of women in the development process.
Its ultimate goal is to empower women economically, and to build capacity of civil society organizations as well as other institutions.