The World Bank has launched two programmes to step up its commitment to improve gender programmes in Rwanda and other African developing countries.
The initiative, Gender Innovation Lab, will bring scientific solutions through rigorous impact evaluation and eventually link scientific evidence to guide gender-related lending operations in Africa.
“Today, we have moved from an intuitive understanding of gender programmes to add the Gender Innovation Lab that will fill the knowledge gap by providing more qualitative and quantitative evidence to show us what works and what doesn’t in terms of gender equality in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Makhar Diop, the World Bank vice-president for Africa, on Friday in a press release.
Diop said the innovation lab will provide development solutions to countries as it works to keep the momentum towards achieving gender equality in Africa.
Last week, the lab received financial support from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) amounting to $18m (Rwf11.3b).
The lab already has over 20 impact evaluations under way, providing clear evidence of what works, Diop said.
Partnering with DFID and the government, a lab impact evaluation showed how land title registration resulted in women increasing investments in land at twice the level as men.
Shifts in global influence from large emerging economies and the private sector are challenging the traditional development paradigm, experts note. Experts also explain that the global private sector firms are seeking to modernise their business models to match profits with responsibility through their supply chains, suggesting a post-2015 world will need to include new voices to the development debate.
Experts agree that chief among the new voices should be women from developing countries.
Globally, the World Bank is making financing available for gender equality by strengthening its monitoring and tracking systems and setting gender-related targets through the bank’s corporate scorecard.
“We know that equal opportunity, regardless of sex, is not only the right thing to do, it is also smart economics,” said Caroline Anstey, the World Bank managing director.