The African Development Bank (AfDB) celebrates the 2009 International Women's Day, on the theme "Men and Women Together for Development". The Bank strongly supports that for development to be sustainable and have a clear positive impact on people's livelihoods, men and women need to work together. It is within this framework that the Bank is committed to assisting with the promotion of gender equality and women entrepreneurship mainstreaming in Africa.
During this year's celebration, the AfDB will present "The President's Award on Excellence in Gender". The award will recognize exemplary contribution made by AfDB individual staff or staff teams to gender equality through the implementation of gender-sensitive programmes and projects. The award will be an incentive to motivate Bank staff to pay greater attention to ensuring the gender sensitivity of Bank interventions in RMCs, thus creating conditions for poverty reduction, enhanced growth, sustainability and development effectiveness.
This award will equally recognize the most innovative Women Entrepreneurs for their achievements. It will distinguish creative, determined entrepreneurial business leaders who have defied gender and regional stereotypes to excel in their field, as well as successful businesses and achievements that make a substantial contribution to the African Economy.
Françoise Foning has been invited as guest speaker for the official ceremony to provide a presentation on Poverty Reduction and Gender Empowerment and share her experiences as a successful Entrepreneur in Africa. She is a reference in pan-African business. In 2005, she became president of a major global NGO "Women Entrepreneurs", which brings together women entrepreneurs from approximately one hundred countries worldwide.
The Bank draws on the commitments made on the promotion of gender equality and women's empowerment in all key development sectors and in particular in economic empowerment at the international level, including the Beijing Platform for Action (1995), the Monterrey Consensus (2002) and the Paris Declaration (2005).