HomeRegional NewsEast AfricaResearch into gender and energy makes for better decision-making

Research into gender and energy makes for better decision-making

The African Development Bank, Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and ENERGIA International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy have jointly launched country briefs offering new insight into gender and energy in Africa.

They were launched at the end of the AfDB’s Gender and Sustainable Energy Access in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda virtual event. The event drew on gender and energy experts and high-level decision-makers who discussed women’s role in the global energy transition and the need for gender-disaggregated data and evidence.

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Vanessa Moungar, AfDB director for gender, women and civil society: “The data collected for these briefs as well as the multi-stakeholder engagement at the national level enabled us to obtain specific recommendations for each country, which can be used by decision-makers, policy-makers, as well as by CSO, to make better-informed decisions and design more impactful programming.”

ENERGIA principal investigator Annemarije Kooijman presented the different briefs’ main insights and provided recommendations for governments to strengthen gender responsiveness in the energy sector. She positioned gender equality as a critical enable for an inclusive and sustainable energy sector.

Highlighting some of the recommendations, Kooijman said to help realise gender goals, governments should commit to gender mainstreaming; collect and update data disaggregated by sex, age, rural/urban, income; develop knowledge and skills in gender analysis, including providing guidelines and procedures for implementation and perform monitoring and impact assessments; invest in gender-responsive approach in policy; and ensure budget commitment.

Energy inclusivity and sustainability means allowing women to be equal participants

Session participants noted that gender gaps remain a barrier to equal access to modern and cleaner energy services for women. This led to a discussion on how the COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated gender inequalities in society, including energy access.

Nnenna Nwabufo, AfDB acting director general for East Africa: “Women do most of the cooking, cleaning and caring for the family. As a result, they suffer the greatest impacts of energy poverty.” She pointed out that when women are excluded from energy governance, decision making process are more likely to result in policies that ignore the unique needs, knowledge and contributions of women.

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Event moderator Anne Kuriakose, CIF senior social development specialist, underlined the importance of women’s climate leadership in the energy space. This ranges from participatory planning process that include women from local to national levels to efforts to expand women’s energy employment, including STEM-based jobs.

In his closing remarks Professor Anthony Nyong, AfDB director for climate change and green growth, said the briefs have raised awareness of the imperative of promoting gender and sustainable energy access in Africa. Nyong also pointed out these can inform policy instruments at national, regional and international levels: “Our ultimate goal is to build inclusive and sustainable economies.”

The briefs cover east African states of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda to guide future gender-sensitive development sector projects which could ensure men and women reap the benefits of energy interventions.

Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith is a Content Specialist for ESI Africa.