- Although about 90 percent of African constitutions endorse gender equality and affirmative action, only 11 countries have achieved parity in secondary education, a new study shows.
Abdoulie Janneh of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) presented these disappointing numbers at seminar in New York.
Mr Janneh said women's participation in executive, judicial, traditional and other public spheres was still visibly low across most African countries, while women's participation in non-agricultural wage employment was mainly at lower echelons and worst, at eight percent, in the security forces.
Generally, he said, while Africa had been making mixed progress across sub-regions, "chances of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) achievements in their entirety are very unlikely across countries." He said external shocks were influencing the achievement of the MDGs in Africa, including conflicts, slow pace of political and economic governance, and the global financial crisis.
But Mr Janneh said Africa had a success story in the area of universal primary education, where there had been "boy-girl enrolment parity in some countries" - including The Gambia, Gabon, Malawi, Mauritius, Mauritania, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles and Uganda - and was "imminent in others" such as Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania.
In spite of this success, said Mr Janneh, serious challenges remained with the "retention, progression to higher levels, violence against girls and increasing signs of boy dropouts in a number of African countries."
He said while North Africa was on track regarding progress towards the MDG target on reducing child mortality, insufficient progress was being made in East Africa, West Africa, while there was no progress in Southern Africa and Central Africa towards meeting the target.
Mr Janneh also held that the impacts of climate change on rural livelihoods were not gender neutral, as they deepened and widened existing gender inequalities in areas such as food insecurity, ill health and increased water stress. "Women and young girls in many African countries," said Mr Janneh, "still have to walk longer distances in search of water and to care for the sick."
Stating that scant attention was generally paid in Africa to the interface between gender and climate change in policy design and implementation, Mr Janneh said UNECA should focus more on the issue.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.