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African women neglected in industrial development

17 June 2013, 18:16 Samuel Kisika

A report on Africa's Industrialization within the Post-2015 Development Agenda record that women in Africa face a challenge getting involved in manufacturing industries.

Sharing the findings of the Report during the 20th AU Conference of Ministers of Industry in Nairobi, Treasure Maphanga, the Director Trade and Industry African Union Commission said that in 2010, women's participation in industry was very dismal.

"In Central Africa women participation was 12.2%, North Africa 21.9%, Southern Africa 17.7%, West Africa 4.8% while there was no statistics for other regions like East Africa," said Maphanga.

Maphanga said that according to the overall International Labor Organization (ILO) findings, in Sub-Saharan Africa about 70% of women are employed in the informal sector.

Maphanga said that the challenge arise from negative perception of the informal sector which reflects on the poor infrastructure that exists in most places women operate from.

"There is a general tendency by policy makers and development practitioners to perceive workers in the informal as ignorant,"said Maphanga.

She added that women also face the mobility constraint challenge due to family commitments and societal negative perspectives, and lack of access to finance, land as well as complex regulatory framework for business.

Maphanga said that there is need to incorporate women in private sector development and mainstream them into the economy to foster the continent's Gross Domestic Production(GDP) growth, and encourage the formalization of informal business.

On youth unemployment in Africa, Dr. Pradeep Monga, the Director United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said that youths lack access to finance and investment to curb the rising joblessness.

"Africa has 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, being the continent with youngest population in the world yet most of them are jobless due to financial constraints," said Monga.

Monga said that between 2000 and 2008, Africa created 73 million jobs but only 16 million youths secured them noting that the number still grows rapidly. He urged African governments to address the issue in due time.

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