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Gender inequality is costing sub-Saharan Africa on average USD 95 billion a year, According to the Africa Human Development Report. Findings show that the above figure had peaked in 2014 to USD 105 billion which was six percent of the continent’s GDP.

The report was launched on Thursday October 14, 2016 at the Hilton Hotel in the presence of First Lady Roman Tesfaye as well as UNDP representatives and other diplomatic and governmental officials. The event was also a platform to showcase some of the success stories from women who were economically empowered through different initiates.

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“I strongly believe that the promotion of gender equality in Ethiopia and throughout the world is the key to solving a multitude of developmental challenges we are confronted with,” said Roman agreeing with many studies that imply the same findings.

She further stated that women’s economic empowerment is a critical element of strategies that are aimed at accelerating gender equality. “Ethiopia recognizes this reality and has made it a priority area of engagement. During the first GTP period, organizing women in small and micro enterprises, associations and business related establishments was given critical attention. This has resulted in the creations of jobs business opportunities in different sectors making millions of women beneficiaries’ better economically,” she said.

The report states that deeply-rooted structural obstacles such as unequal distribution of resources, power and wealth, combined with social institutions and norms that sustain inequality are holding African women, and the rest of the continent, back. Estimates show that a one percent increase in gender inequality reduces a country’s human development index by 0.75 percent.

Furthermore, it points out that while Africa is rapidly closing the gender gap in primary education enrolment, African women achieve only 87 percent of the human development outcomes of men, driven mainly by lower levels of female secondary attainment, lower female labor force participation and high maternal mortality. Findings also show that while 61 percent of African women are working they still face economic exclusion as their jobs are underpaid and undervalued, and are mostly in the informal sector.

African women hold 66 percent of the all jobs in the non-agricultural informal sector and only make 70 cents for each dollar made by men.