Gender and Sustainable Development in Africa

by The Revd Dr Lydia Mwaniki

Date added: 21/11/2016

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 Gender and Sustainable Development in Africa:

Implications for the Church


Rev Dr. Lydia Mwaniki (Ph.D)

Director, Theology, Family Life and Gender Justice,All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)

Mission Theology in the Anglican Communion Continental Editor for Africa


Introduction and Background

We call international and national decision-makers of both rich and poor nations, to fulfil their public promise to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and so halve absolute global poverty by 2015 (Micah Network’s commitment to Integral Mission in De Gruchy, 2005)

In its commitment to integral mission, the Micah network appealed to international and national decision makers to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), within the set time. Nevertheless, this vision did not come true by 2015.

The first and foremost agenda of MDG successors, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere” by 2030. This agenda is however difficult to achieve because of the high levels of inequalities, among other violated principles of sustainable development. Gender inequality in particular, is more pronounced. Globally, for example, women make up 50% of the global population, 40% of the global workforce and yet only own about 1% of the world’s wealth (USDoS, 2014).

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 similarly shows that despite significant achievements on MDGs at global, regional, national and local levels:

Women remain at a disadvantage in the labour market. Globally, about three quarters of working-age men participate in the labour force, compared to only half of working-age women. Women earn 24 per cent less than men globally…Despite continuous progress today the world still has far to go towards equal gender representation in private and public decision-making (UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2015:8).

On a global scale, men make up 52% of all entrepreneurial activity, compared to 48% of women entrepreneurs (GEM, 2012). The gender gap varies greatly in size across the world, ranging from 1.5% to 45.4% women of the adult population who actively operate a business as entrepreneurs or who are thinking about starting a business.

This paper focuses on the situation of Gender and Sustainable Development in Africa, and the role of the Church in facilitating international (UN) and African Union (AU) agendas to close gender gaps in the development process. It begins by defining important terms, gives an overview of gender and sustainable development in Africa, citing some of the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, and the interventions made so far by the UN and the AU. The paper then demonstrates how the church can use integral mission as a tool to enhance UN and AU agendas on gender equality, through some theological models, as well as by citing some practical examples from the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC). It finally ends with a conclusion. The paper argues that the church, through her God given mandate to do integral (holistic) mission, is able to work with the legal instruments to close gender gaps. It therefore calls the church to ‘rethink’ her approach to mission, in order to work with UN and AU to address people’s social needs.



 Gender –is a social construction. It refers to the social and cultural attributes and opportunities, associated with being male and female. It also refers to a set of roles which, like costumes or masks in the theatre, communicate to other people that we are feminine or masculine. (I limit gender to the biblical and African use of the term to refer specifically to male and female sexes).

Sex- is biologically determined. It includes biological differences between male and female such us genetic make-up, our hormones and body parts, especially our sex and reproductive organs.

Gender equality/ justice- is that stage of human social development at which the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of individuals will not be determined by the fact of being born male or female. It is equal treatment of women and men.

Sustainable Development- I use Brundtland’s definition which says that, “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Definition). It is an intersection of 3 pillars: Economic, Social and Environment. Some principles of sustainable development include equality, green living, social progress and responsible consumption among others.

Church- in this paper, ‘Church’ refers to the body of believers in Africa, belonging to different denominations, called by God to transform Africa, through Integral (holistic) Mission.


Gender and Sustainable Development in Africa

It is a well-known fact that over the past thirty years the participation of women in economic activity has doubled (Vossenberg, 2013). Today, the role of women entrepreneurs in economic development in Africa cannot be understated. Compared to other regions of the world, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest number of female entrepreneurs (Sotunde, 2014). These women are mostly owners of small businesses and local community shops serving the unmet needs of their homes and consumers. This reshapes the incorrect perception that African women have marginal input in overall economic output (Isacke, 2013).

Africa’s powerful economic performance has, however, been accompanied by many development challenges that threaten to slow down the continent’s path and pace towards sustainable development. Among those, the twin challenges are: unsustainability inherent in the over exploitation/depletion of the continent’s natural and mineral resources, which has far reaching consequences on Africa’s economy, and unique effects on women. The second twin is the high levels of inequality whereby, “poverty and inequality remain ‘unacceptably high and the pace of reduction unacceptably slow.’” (World Bank Report, 2013).

Although inequality in the development process occurs in different forms and categories, gender inequality is one of the main forms of inequality, which in particular marginalizes women in the development process. While 61% of African women are working, they still face economic exclusion as their jobs are underpaid and undervalued, and are mostly in the informal sector.

African women hold 66% of the all jobs in the non-agricultural informal sector and only make 70 cents for each dollar made by men. Only between 7% and 30% of all private firms have a female manager. While the continent is rapidly closing the gender gap in primary education enrolment, African women achieve only 87% percent of the human development outcomes of men, driven mainly by lower levels of female secondary attainment, lower female labour force participation and high maternal mortality.


Challenges hindering women’s Progress in Sustainable Development in Africa include:

Gender disparities in valuation of labor and Work-family interface

Women entrepreneurs indicate that they deploy several strategies to cope with the double workload and challenges emanating from combining business with family. The performance of the business is affected negatively because of the long periods of time spent caring for the family, especially children and the elderly. Gender roles are socially determined from birth and are regarded as naturally given. As Sen and Grown (1987:26) righty observe, in the sexual division of labor, women’s role is accorded lower status or social importance. African women therefore suffer from time-poverty. Besides, different roles, work, and valuing of work create differential access to decision-making, services and benefits.

Lack of water and Electricity in Rural Areas

Closely related to the above point, is lack of water and electricity in rural areas.

While many urban areas in Africa have access to piped water, research shows that in Sub-Saharan Africa, women in the rural areas spend about 40 billion hours a year collecting water (The Africa Energy Outlook, Special Report in the World Energy Outlook, 2014). According to GSDR (2015:2), in countries like Guinea and Malawi, women spend respectively over three and eight times more than men fetching water. This is besides the hours they spend doing other unpaid work of family care such as fetching firewood, cleaning and cooking. Lack of water and electricity for women increases their unpaid work. It is a clear obstacle to African women’s progress, limiting the time women can spend in education and paid work, and access to economic and financial assets. In some cases, women are less likely to have bank accounts and to access credit.

Inadequate Training and Access to Information

One challenge often mentioned in research on women entrepreneurs in developing countries is that of a relatively low level of education and skill training as compared to their male counterparts. This, combined with a lack of career guidance, generally seems to limit their access to various publically and privately offered support services including business development services and information on business growth. Other challenges identified in other developing countries are a lack of access to ICTs, insufficient entrepreneurial and management skills, together with problems in finding the markets and distribution networks.

Women’s Safety and Gender-based Violence

The issue of safety and protection of women entrepreneurs, especially those operating in the informal economy, is all too real. Even though less documented in academic research, there are numerous stories of killings, harassment and rape of female vendors and micro-business owners. This results in stress, constant fear and not having the opportunity to freely choose their business location and opening hours. This seriously limits the chances and choices of becoming a successful entrepreneur in some developing countries.

Legal Barriers and Procedures

Varying across countries, the lack of government support in terms of policy, laws and services has been identified as a barrier for women entrepreneurs. Even though this varies greatly across countries, research indicates that regulations, taxation and legal barriers can pose serious obstacles for running and starting a business. This, though, may affect both men and women to a certain extent.

Over-exploitation of natural and mineral resources in Africa

Mineral resources are not renewable. Since most of the profit from them does not benefit African countries, then this creates lack of sustainability in Africa’s development. It jeopardizes the lives of future generations. Research by The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO)[1] for example found that Africa accounts for over half of the global deforestation and that two-thirds of arable land in Africa will be lost by 2025 (IUFRO 2009).

In the process of exploration of minerals, displacement of the population occurs. Men are the ones who are usually compensated because they are regarded as the heads of families. Sometimes, women are not even consulted when such transactions occur. Men do not always spend the compensation money for the welfare of the family and so women are left to struggle single-handedly with family needs (Diop 2015).

 African women’s health

This is severely affected by overworking, harmful practices such as under-age marriage, sexual and physical violence, and high maternal mortality - the most at-risk women being those of childbearing age.

Unequal distribution of Resources

Unequal distribution of resources in Africa leads to unsustainable development. According to Diop (2015:3), women, girls, youth and the poor get a thin share of the wealth of the continent. Gender disparities in the labour market confine women to low paid jobs. Managerial and technical jobs, especially in mining industries, are male dominated which affects women’s economic power.

In his analysis of the 2015 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), Ngone Diop rightly argues that a greater understanding of the strong linkages between gender equality and sustainable development is a condition sine qua non for Africa’s socio-economic transformation, as the continent strives to achieve the structural transformation of its economy in order to achieve its agenda 2063 (Diop 2015:1). It is estimated that a 1% increase in gender inequality reduces a country’s human development index by 0.75% (UNDP, 2016). Gender inequality is an inhibiting pull factor for development and growth, while gender equality on the other hand serves as pull factor (Baughn, Chua & Neupert, 2006). Nevertheless, deeply-rooted structural obstacles such as unequal distribution of resources, power and wealth, combined with social institutions and norms that sustain inequality continue to hold African women, and the rest of the continent, back.

Sustainable development cannot be achieved or sustained in Africa (and in the world) if over half of the human population, who are women, is not engaged meaningfully in it. Marginalization of women in the development process affects livelihoods in Africa particularly because women are the ones who bear the brunt of family care and sustainability.

 As such, as Maria Nzomo expresses, “there is a link between gender inequality and overall human poverty, best manifested by feminization of poverty in many developing countries” (Nzomo 2010:2). Yet, gender disparities are persistent not only in Africa, but all over the world. Effects of unsustainable development often disproportionately affect women and girls because of their already precarious situation due to structurally unequal power relations.  Reductions in the gender and economic inclusion will result in an increase in the continent’s economic competitiveness (Isacke, 2013).


Some useful interventions in gender and sustainable development

The gender and development agenda is a historical process, which has been heightened by feminist theories, global movements and declarations through the United Nations and African Union among other bodies. Below is a summary of some of the historical approaches and interventions that have been made to reduce gender gaps in the development process.

i)                    Historical Perspectives on gender

In 1930s, the development approach that was taken up by the economists and colonial officials was the modernist approach, which was capitalistic and ethnocentric. This modernization paradigm which excelled until 1960s did not address issues of gender and development or generally social development. Women were only viewed as wives and mothers. The concept of gender as analytic category begun to be used in the 1970s. It was argued that if women’s traditional work was not recognized as part of the national economy, then they needed to be integrated into the market economy, where they would engage themselves in producing goods and services, thus enabling them to earn an income for themselves and also contribute to the development process which would be measurable by GNP. Education and vocational and technical training were regarded as essential in this process (but it was soon to be found that this approach was to benefit only a small number of women). Women were therefore to be integrated into the existing system of development, which would enable them have equal opportunities with men. However, as Moser (1993:154) observes, not many people stopped to ask whether the system into which they would be integrated was the right one.

Another development that came up in 1970 was Ester Boserup’s famous study “Women’s Role in Economic Development” which revealed that Development projects ignored women and that the technologically sophisticated projects undermined women’s economic opportunities and values. Through this book, several theories of gender and development were developed by feminist movements as gender analysis models such as Women in Development (WID), Women and Development (WAD) and Gender and Development (GAD) among others (see Moser 1993).

ii)  UN Global Movements and Declarations

The UN recognized gender equality as a global goal in an effort to enhance economic growth and reduce poverty in 1945. In 1975, the UN launched its International Women’s year, and organized the first World Conference on Women, held in Mexico City.  At the urging of the Conference, it subsequently declared the years 1976-1985 as the UN Decade for Women, under the theme of ‘equality’, ‘development’ and ‘peace’ (see article in

In 1979, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which is often described as an International Bill of Rights for Women. The convention has 30 articles, which explicitly define discrimination[2] against women.

The second World Conference on Women was held in Copenhagen in 1980. It’s Programme of Action called for stronger national measures to ensure women's ownership and control of property, as well as improvements in women's rights with respect to inheritance, child custody and loss of nationality.

1985- The World Conference was held in Nairobi to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women. 15,000 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participated in a parallel NGO Forum.  The event was described by many as “the birth of global feminism”.  The 157 participating governments adopted the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies to the Year 2000 on realizing that the goals had not been adequately achieved within the decade.  It became the first to declare all issues to be women’s issues.

1995- The 4th UN Conference on women was held in Beijing.

2000- Members of United Nations adopted the Millennium Declaration in Sept 2000, among them MDG 5 on eradication of gender inequality by 2015.

2000- Unanimous passing of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in Africa.

2006-Development of African Union Gender Policy by The Women’s Gender and Development Directorate. It contains decisions and declarations of the assembly of the African Union and other global commitments on Gender and women’s empowerment.It demonstrates continued leadership of AU to advance gender equality in the continent by the African Heads of States.

2010- Following the Millennium Development Goals Summit in September 2010, the Secretary-General launched a global effort convening 40 key leaders to define a collective strategy for accelerating progress on women's and children's health.

(iii) Millennium Development goals, Sustainable Development Goals and Initiatives in Africa

The international and national policy commitments are geared towards addressing gender equity and inequalities. This is reflected in the fifth Millennium Development goals (MDGs) which has been replaced by SDG 5. Goal 5 is geared to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” by 2030. 

Further still, the African Union (AU) agenda 2063 ‘The Africa We Want,’ has committed itself in Aspiration 6 clause 50 to empower women in all spheres-“with equal social, political and economic rights, including the rights to own and inherit property, sign contracts, register and manage business…” In clause 52, “Africa of 2063 will have full gender parity, with women occupying at least 50% of elected public offices at all levels…” The AU has also adopted one of the most progressive legislation towards women with the Maputo Protocol. Other AU gender legislation and policies include the AU Constitutive Act, and the AU Gender Policy.

Since the inception of MDGs in 2000, different countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have put their own national gender policies in place to promote gender equality. Countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia and South Africa have their own national gender policies (Simonen 2009 cited in European Union 2010). Kenya has, for instance, put in place policies of intervention which include among others legislation, female specified policies, plans and programs to address forms of gender discrimination.[3] Women’s participation in the development process has also been boosted by education (e.g. provision of Free-Primary Education, which makes primary education compulsory for both boys and girls for example in Kenya), infrastructure such as roads, technology such as rural electrification projects, available and quick means of transport especially by motorcycles both in the rural areas and in towns, and availability of piped water, which increases women’s hours for productive activity.

(iv)  Grassroots Policy Approaches

Another gender and policy approach to development includes empowerment and participation from the grassroots. This ensures that through empowerment, women will achieve equality and equity with men. An example here is ‘Grassroots Organizations Operating Together in Sisterhood’ (GROOTS) Kenya. This organization operates in ten countries in Africa. It was formed to address the magnitude of women’s poverty in rural areas. It mentors and trains grassroots women leaders in order to be able to influence policies and programs at the local, national and international levels. In Kenya, it operates in three counties including Kiambu, Kakamega and Laikipia. Others are coming up. Men are participants in this process[4].

In sum, interventions have been done in several ways to reduce gender gaps. Nevertheless, women constitute over half of the world’s population, but their contribution to measured economic activity, growth, and well-being is way below their potential and results in serious macroeconomic consequences. According to a report by Katrin Elborgh-Woytek (Elborgh-Woytek et al 2013), despite significant progress in recent decades, labour market across the world remains divided along gender lines and progress towards gender equality seems to have stalled.

Further still, although the international legal instruments have been in existence over the years, the process of implementation has been slow. Signatories’ countries do not always take measures to implement it. There is also a concern that some countries do not ratify some Protocols.  For example, in Africa eighteen  (18) states[5] have still not ratified Maputo Protocol.  

What is the role of the Church[6] in facilitating the UN, AU and National agenda to achieve gender equality as a move to “eradicate poverty in all its forms” by 2030, and empower women in all spheres by 2063, as a way of ensuring sustainable development?

How can the church be involved in this process? It is to this that we now turn.


Gender and Sustainable Development: Implications for the Church

This paper proposes that the church, through its God given mandate to do integral mission, is able to facilitate the achievement of the UN and AU agenda on gender justice, and as well, engage these legal instruments to make governments and institutions accountable. This is with an understanding that, among other stakeholders the church is a key stake holder in sustainable development, whose active participation is critical.


What is ‘Integral Mission’?

Integral mission is holistic mission that entails both proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and demonstration of it. It is sharing the Good News in words and deeds, as demonstrated by the holistic mission of Jesus Christ on earth, in which he not only proclaimed the Good News but also demonstrated it through meeting peoples’ physical needs.

One of the Christian organizations that exemplifies integration of mission with development is the Micah Network. The Micah Network was formed in 1999. It is a group of 276 Christian relief, development and justice organizations from 74 countries (De Gruchy 2005). This network responds to the call of prophet Micah;

...what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).

As a way of its response to Micah, and commitment to mission, the network committed itself to offer a Christian response to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Following this commitment, the late Professor Steve de Gruchy (2005:26) calls the church to rethink its understanding for mission in order to address social needs. He argues:

It does not surprise me that the Micah Network has found that the most appropriate theological way to respond to the many challenges of social development is to rethink our understanding of mission. For mission is about the Church outside the Church, about the people of God engaging the world which God so loved (John 3.16), and this includes responding to the needs of the world…” (De Gruchy 2005).

Gender inequality in the development processis one of such social challenges in Africa, which calls for the intervention of the church, in her integral mission.

In so doing, it is imperative that the church becomes a role model of gender justice. Gender inequalities in the church need to be addressed first, in order to influence governments and other institutions. Achievement of gender equality is a big issue in many churches in Africa. It is worrying how the church as the conscience of society will spearhead the UN and AU agenda on gender equality, if gender equality has not been realized in the church herself.

Integral mission uses Biblical theology as the basis of its mandate to link Christian mission with social justice. This section explores ways in which integral mission may engage the Bible and theology as liberating models of social justice. This is in an effort to partner with the other intervening bodies and legal instruments to promote sustainable development by eradicating gender gaps.

1. Interpreting and appropriating non-liberating gendered biblical texts in life-affirming ways. These texts have been used to reinforce unhelpful cultural beliefs and attitudes towards women in the history of the Christian tradition

2. Using Theological Models which offer foundations for gender equality e.g.

(i) Trinitarian Model-Trinity demonstrates the Unity of the Godhead. Belief in the Trinity therefore means living in unity and harmony with each human being, on an equal basis.  It is a recognition of the presence of the triune God in every human being, in their diversity of gender, race, economic and social status etc.

(ii) Christian egalitarian Model holds that male & female are equal because they are created in God’s the image.

3. Learn from Jesus’ liberating approach to women and the marginalized. Jesus defied religion and culture to accord women and social misfits, dignity.

4. Acknowledging women’s participation in the development process in the Bible such as, Queen of Sheba (I Kgs 10), "wise woman" (Proverbs 31) and Lydia (Acts 16).

Other approaches that the church can use are:

Advocacy training/Workshops

 Advocacy training on legal instruments to church leaders is very necessary. The leaders would in turn train their Christians. The aim of the advocacy workshop would be to educate the participants on the UN and AU legal instruments on gender justice. This would equip them to use these instruments as advocacy tools for gender justice and, like the Micah Challenge, hold their governments and institutions accountable for gender justice and defense of women’s rights.

Give legal instruments a biblical and theological basis.

This gives value to religious actors that the concerns for gender justice raised by the legal instruments have biblical support. It breaks barriers between secular human rights and biblical teachings. It also empowers faith actors to use legal instruments to reinforce biblical teachings, and as well use biblical teachings to reinforce legal instruments in mission work.

Engage youth in shaping their future

Since the future belongs to the youth, the church needs to empower youth to shape their future by equipping them with knowledge of legal instruments and sustainable development. The youth can then continuously remind policy-makers to make decisions which protect their future.

Use of the Pulpit

Finally, the church needs to preach about gender justice. The pulpit is a powerful stage through which church leaders can advocate for gender justice and Sustainable Development.


Practical Measures by The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)[7]

All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) has taken measures to use existing legal instruments to promote gender justice through:

  • Working with AU to popularize AU agenda 2063, including Asp. 6, on gender Justice.
  • Giving legal instruments a biblical and theological basis, in a teaching manual developed by Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).
  • Collaborating with NCA and other Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) to hold a High Level Panel during AU Gender pre-summit in January, 2017, in Ethiopia. The Panel will engage Religious Leaders on Gender Justice and Youth, using the Maputo Protocol, AU agenda 2063, and other legal instruments. I will be one of the key speakers
  • Workshops for women and youth on entrepreneurship



Gender inequality is a big hindrance to sustainable development in all its dimensions. Bible and theology offer a firm foundation for gender equality with which the church, through integral mission, can enhance legal instruments in order to achieve gender parity in sustainable development in Africa. If fully empowered, women entrepreneurs can make a strong contribution to the socio-economic well-being of the family and communities. They can positively impact in poverty reduction and women’s empowerment.



African Union Gender Policy 10th Dec. 2009

Baughn, C., Chua, B., Neupert, K. (2006). The Normative Context for Women’s Participation in entrepreneurship: A multi-country study. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30(5), 687-708.

Bilezikian, Gilbert. 1997. "Hermeneutical Bungee-Jumping: Subordination in the Godhead," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 40/1 (March 1997) 57-68.

CEDAW<>. Accessed: 26/10/2011).

Chester, Tim 2002. “Introducing Integral Mission”, in Tim Chester (ed), Justice, Mercy and Humility: Integral Mission and the Poor. London: Paternoster.

De Gruchy, Steve. 2005. “Integrating Mission and Development: Ten Theological Thesis, in ICJ 5.1 (2005) 27-36.

Diop, Ngone, 2015. “Gender equality and sustainable development: Achieving the twin development goals in Africa,” in  Accessed-9th Sep, 2016

Ellis, Amanda (et al) 2007. Gender and Economic Growth: Unleashing the Power of Women. Washington: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank.

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). (2012). GEM 2011 Global Report. Published online,

International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO), the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Finish Forest Research Institute, August 2009, “Making Sub-Saharan African forests work for People and Nature. Policy approaches in a changing global environment” (put it where it fits in bibliography.

Isacke, C. (2013, 08 19). African Women’s Entrepreneur Program. Retrieved 03 21, 2016, from borgenproject:

Maiga, Soyata 2013, Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) On The Rights of Women in Africa, On The Progress Made and Challenges Remaining Since the Adoption Of The Protocol (Interview Conducted on 10 July 2013)

Moser, Caroline (1993) Gender Planning and Development: Theory, Planning and Training. London: Routledge.

Muiru et al 2011. “The Champions for Transformative Leadership Initiative: Kenyan Grassroots Women as Agents for Change.

Nzomo, Maria 2010. “Gender Equity For Sustainable Development: Prospects & Challenges.”Keynote Address delivered at the Gender Week Forum, 15th June 2010-Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, Kenya.

Reddy, S. (2011, 09 18). New Facts on the Gender Gap from the World Bank. Retrieved 03 21, 2016, from wsj:

Rieger, J 2007. Christ and Empire: From Paul to Postcolonial Times.  Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Sharma, P. (2015, 03 08). Women Entrepreneurs: Challenges & Opportunities. Retrieved 03 21, 2016, from AIS:

Sotunde, O. (2014, 10 12). Why Investing In African Female Entrepreneurs Make Economic Sense. Retrieved 03 21, 2016, from venturesafrica:

United Nations, 2015. The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 in Accessed 2/09/2011

United States Department of State (USDoS). (2014, 07 28). African Women's Entrepreneurship Program. Retrieved 03 21, 2016, from state:

Vossenberg, S. (2013, 08 24). Women Entrepreneurship Promotion in Developing Countries: What explains the gender gap in entrepreneurship and how to close it? . Retrieved 03 21, 2016, from MSM:


[1] IUFRO is "the" global network for forest science cooperation. It unites more than 15,000 scientists in almost 700 Member Organizations in over 110 countries.

[2] CEDAW defines discrimination against women as "...any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field." accessed on 21/2/2012.


[3] Other examples in Kenya are: affirmative action, promoting girl child education and economic empowerment through introduction of Women Development Fund. 30% affirmative action in formal appointees to public posts is also a move toward achieving gender equality. In the 4th March 2013 general elections, women representatives were elected in each county in Kenya, therefore increasing the participation of women in decision-making in parliament. Furthermore, President Kenyatta nominated 26 Principal Secretaries among them 7, who were sworn in on 28th June, 2013 (though this nomination failed to meet the constitutional mandate of one-third minimum representation of either gender. During his inauguration April 9th, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that his government would be committed to support youth and women. This promise has first and foremost been fulfilled by the release of interest-free loans to fund youth- and women-run businesses through Uwezo fund.

[4] For more details on this grassroot organization, see Muiru et al 2011. “The Champions for Transformative Leadership Initiative: Kenyan Grassroots Women as Agents for Change.

[5] Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur of the African Commission On Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) On The Rights of Women in Africa, On The Progress Made and Challenges Remaining Since the Adoption of The Protocol (Interview Conducted on 10 July 2013)

[6] In this paper, ‘Church’ refers tothe Christian body of believers in Africa, belonging to different denominations, called by God to transform Africa, through Integral (holistic) Mission.

[7] The AACC is the largest continental ecumenical association of Protestant, Orthodox, and indigenous churches in Africa. Currently, it represents 152 member churches, 24 National Council of Churches and over 120 million Christians in the continent.

The Revd Dr Lydia Mwaniki

The Revd Dr Lydia Mwaniki


Articles by The Revd Dr Lydia Mwaniki

Gender and Sustainable Development in Africa (21/11/2016)

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