Breaching the gender equality gap in infrastructure at the inaugural Women in Infrastructure Summit

Mfon Usoro, Senior Energy Analyst; Wood Mackenzie will be one of the speakers at the event. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mfon Usoro, Senior Energy Analyst; Wood Mackenzie will be one of the speakers at the event. Picture: SUPPLIED

Published Aug 20, 2021


DURBAN - The African Development Bank (AfDB), in 2018, published its African Economic Outlook which focused on the continent’s infrastructure. Their estimates suggested that Africa’s infrastructure needs amounted to $130–170 billion a year, with a financing gap in the range $68–$108 billion.

In emerging markets, an estimated 783 million people in developing countries still lack access to clean water; 1.6 billion people are without electricity; 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation; and nearly one billion lack access to an all-weather road. As these ‘infrastructure gaps’ are gradually addressed, economic benefits will undoubtedly result, but those benefits may not be equitably shared by all members of society.

With infrastructure being a key economic driver, it is crucial to ensure that equal opportunities exists for growth and development in this sector. Creating more inclusive structures, networks and systems will help authorities to reduce inequality, drive productivity, increase land values and boost economic growth. However, there are significant challenges they must overcome.

To identify these challenges and to address attainable solutions, CNBC Africa in partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), will be hosting their inaugural Women in Infrastructure Summit, virtually, on Tuesday, 24 August which will bring together leading industry voices to explore how an inclusive infrastructure industry can be created.

“This Summit could not have come at a more opportune time, not only do we celebrate Women’s Month, but with the South African Government Infrastructure Fund’s project pipeline expected to be implemented by year-end, debates concerning equality in this sector are much-needed.” says Roberta Naicker, Managing Director; ABN Group.

The adoption of an inclusive approach to infrastructure development can offer a number of potential benefits, such as: Reducing poverty and income inequality; Reducing the geographic divide; increasing gender equity; Social equity and stability; Increasing affordability and accessibility; Job creation and equitable access to labour market opportunities; Technical literacy and knowledge sharing; Integrating opportunities for small businesses.

“The Bank in its pursuit to bend the Arc of History has taken a bold stance to incorporate gender mainstreaming (GM) in its operational practices and deal making activities. We endeavour to change the landscape by adapting how we do business by upholding the principles of: gender equality, women empowerment and inclusive environment.” says Bathobile Sowazi, Company Secretary; The Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA). “The DBSA view the upcoming conference as a platform to share insights and form linkages to expand our muscle to engender approaches that embrace diversity and inclusion in our business endeavours” Sowazi concluded.

The panel topics to be covered include; Gender mainstreaming, Challenges of accessibility in the industry and The role of women in infrastructure.

This half day summit will be free-to-attend, virtually on Hopin. People who wish to register for the event can visit:

For more updates, follow @cnbcafrica using the hashtag #WIIS2021 #Womenininfrastructure


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