NEPAD Spanish Fund approves 8.2m Euros for African women’s projects

 To coincide with this year’s International Women’s Day marked March 8, 2012, the NEPAD Spanish Fund for African Women Empowerment, yesterday, approved funding for 31 projects in Sub-Saharan African countries worth 8,209,745 Euros in its determination to empower women in the region and boost development.

According to a press release from the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency which announced this, the projects were selected from more than 600 proposals received from non-governmental organisations, grassroots groups, academic institutions and regional economic communities across sub-Saharan Africa, by the Steering Committee of the Fund in Madrid on February 29, 2012 and scheduled for completion between 12 and 24 months.

Commenting on the approved funding, NEPAD Agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, said “NEPAD and the Government of the Kingdom of Spain share a common goal of advancing gender equality and gender equity,” adding, “The implementation of the NEPAD Spanish Fund represents one of the key steps to achieve this goal.”

For his part, Director of the Spanish Agency for International Development (AECI), Mr. Juan Lopez-Doriga, praised NEPAD’s Gender Programme for its meticulous, thorough and diligent work in the selection process.

The NEPAD Spanish Fund is involved in the areas of health, economic development, and education, while at the same time promoting social and political participation of women in the development process. Its ultimate goal is to empower women economically, to build capacity of civil society organisations, as well as other institutions.

Meanwhile, the latest approvals are the second batch to be sanctioned by the Fund since its creation in 2007, following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between NEPAD and the Spanish Government. In the first phase, 46 projects were funded, out of which 38 have been successfully completed while eight are nearing conclusion.

The Fund contributes to poverty eradication and economic empowerment of women by supporting financial and technical projects that support gender equality and improve the economic, political and social empowerment of women, while the programme aims at achieving the MDGs in Africa by 2015 and considers equity, gender equality and empowers women as a prerequisite to growth and sustainable development.

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 Agency is the technical arm of the African Union designed to help speed up African integration and socio-economic development.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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