Sixth IDB Women’s Advisory Panel Kicks Off In Kampala

Kampala, 3.11.2010: The First Lady of the Republic of Uganda, Hon Janet K. Museveni, inaugurated today at Kampala, Uganda, the sixth meeting of the Islamic Development Bank Women’s Advisory Panel in the presence of H.E. Syda Bbumba, Minister of Finance, Planning & Economic Development & IDB Governor, and H.E. Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President, IDB Group.
Inaugurating the meeting, the Hon First Lady Janet K. Museveni congratulated the Islamic Development Bank for its vision of advancing the cause of women and related gender issues and expressed conviction that since Uganda is represented on the Panel through its Finance Minister, it would always reflect on Ugandan women and gender related issues. The First Lady went on to say that women in Uganda constitute the majority living in poverty, with the lowest paying jobs and without access to credit and capital financing for gainful employment. The current government in Uganda has implemented several measures and put in place a number of laws and policies to guarantee rights to women and more needs to be done to eliminate gender disparity, access to health facilities, etc. In this context, she stressed that “it is the belief of the government that the Islamic Development Bank as a development partner would be an important ally towards this process through technical assistance, training, business planning, capacity building and microfinance”. Concluding her statement, the First Lady reiterated the Government of Uganda’s strong support for the IDB and OIC principles and objectives.
Earlier, H.E. Syda Bbumba, Minister of Finance, Planning & Economic Development of Uganda and IDB Governor, welcomed the Guest of Honor the First Lady and other dignitaries. In her keynote address the IDB Governor, recounting the projects and programs implemented by the Bank over the last three decades, stated that IDB support has helped improve the living conditions of the rural people which projects the social and humanitarian dimensions of the Bank’s development aid. Denoting the new era of cooperation with the Bank, she pointed out at several projects in the pipeline which are expected to be implemented with the support of the IDB. On the 6th Annual Meeting of the Advisory Panel currently taking place, of which she is a member, the Minister said that the issues for discussion in the meeting are of high benefit to the women and children who constitute the majority of the population in Uganda where they represent 80% in agricultural labor force and spend more than 9 hours in other activities which makes them vulnerable. Despite the many interventions and conducive legal framework, women still remain in poverty. This is an indication that something more ought to be done. She expressed hope that the Panel meeting would come up with appropriate recommendations for the attention of the Bank.
In his statement Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali expressed thanks and gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Uganda for their continued cooperation with the IDB Group and for the kind patronage of the Meeting of the Women’s Advisory Panel by the First Lady Hon Janet Museveni. Stressing on its new sustainable human development agenda, the IDB President said that the role of women in social, economic and cultural aspects of life is a major building block in the IDB’s new strategy for human development and that IDB is keen to finance operations directly and indirectly benefitting women giving them access to finance, employment and education thus improving the case of women in our society. He recalled the support of the Women’s Advisory Panel in introducing new schemes and programs aimed at women, particularly the IDB Prize for Women Development which has already been awarded to 9 individual members and 10 institutions internationally. In this context the President also pointed out at the activities of the Islamic Solidarity Fund of the Bank which facilitates poverty reduction by targeting sustainable job creation, education and health improvement. He particularly pointed out the recently approved microfinance support program which will benefit 1.4 million rural Ugandans.
During the meeting the IDB President declared that the Bank will collaborate with government institutions in Uganda by providing technical assistance to treat people suffering from fistula and trachoma which are two prevalent diseases among women in Uganda. On a different note the President dwelt upon the IDB’s vision for human dignity from which the medium term plan of the bank is delineated based on a new business model that advocates proactiveness. The Bank is also pressing ahead with its Partnership strategy programs with the member countries which aim at providing support to the member countries as well as facilitating support and cooperation between member countries.
Mrs Dr Sharifah Aminah Al Khared, member of the Advisory Panel, spoke on behalf of the Panel Members. Mrs Hawa Turay, one of the joint winners of this year’s IDB Women’s Prize for Development made a presentation on the occasion.
The meeting will run for three days during which the Advisory panel is expected to deliberate on several matters of importance to the development of women and helping IDB formulate further policies and programs. Currently the IDB is implementing a number of programs for the development of women. The Women’s Development Prize instituted by the IDB is an offshoot of the recommendations of the Women’s Advisory Panel. So far there have been 9 winners under the individual category and 10 winners under the institutions category.
At the conclusion of the 3-day meetings, the Panel is expected to come out with recommendations to the Bank on how to further address issues related to women and gender in its member countries. It will also look at new areas of interventions for the Bank to consider .
Established in 2004, IDB’s 12-member Women’s Advisory Panel advises the Bank on adequately mainstreaming women concerns and gender related issues in the Bank’s internal operations and activities and helps to formulate appropriate programs to promote women’s participation in the socio-economic development process of its member countries. Since its establishment the Panel has successfully convened 5 annual meetings in UAE, Turkey, Malaysia, Bahrain and Jordan respectively.