Apart from physical capital and technology, one of the factors that explain differences in the level of development across countries is the wealth of human capital. The number of people and the accumulated skills they have is a vital determinant of how much progress society can achieve.
It is a well-known fact that women are the backbone of many African economies and also play key roles in the economies of each country.
In most African countries, while at least half of the population is female, much less than half of the workforce is female. In the same way, a significant fraction of high-ability girls and women do not have the opportunity to attend a school or to acquire other forms of skills.
Women and girls are less likely to attend school, and if they do, their chances of completing secondary level education are much more limited than for boys. For those that complete secondary education, they do not have equal chances of getting employed, particularly in the formal sector, compared to the chances faced by men with equivalent levels of education. For those that
are working in the agricultural sector, they have limited entitlement to ownership of land and other farming inputs (AfDB, 2015).
Understanding the link between economic growth and poverty reduction requires the identification of major obstacles that constrain their participation and limit the flow of economic prosperity to the poor.
Gender inequality remains a major barrier to efforts to reduce poverty in Africa. There has, however, been some progress, especially in educational enrolment and access to healthcare. Notwithstanding this, women and girls in Africa are far from enjoying the opportunities and benefits arising from economic prosperity compared to their male counterparts. This calls for the prioritization of gender issues in the development and the need to recognize ‘equity’ as an important prerequisite for success in other development objectives.