The African Development Bank(AfDB’s) Special Envoy on Gender, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi says Africa must close the wide gap in wages and agricultural yields between men and women to be able to achieve full economic transformation.

Speaking at the launch of a new report on the empowerment of African women in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Fraser-Moleketi said: “African women feed the continent and they can feed the world, too.”

The report highlights lack of access to assets and to finance, limited training, gender-neutral government policy, and time constraints due to heavy domestic responsibilities, as the major drawbacks that  limit women’s productivity in the agric sector.

Women’s role she says “is largely limited to the unskilled parts of production in the agric sector- few of them own the land on which they work.

“They’re rarely remunerated for their labour and often do not control the income generated from the sale of agricultural produce.”

For example, in Côte d’Ivoire, the report estimates women account for 68 per cent of the labour in cocoa production, but receive only 21 per cent of the income. Similarly, in Ethiopia, women account for 75 per cent of the labour in coffee production and receive only 34 per cent of the income.

However, the new report is to economically empower women by giving them additional leverage to participate gainfully in the agricultural added value-chain.

The report dubbed: “ Economic Empowerment of African Women through Equitable Participation in Agriculture Value,” was produced by the office of the Special Envoy on Gender and the Department for Agriculture and Agro-industry of AfDB.