Gender Gap Costs Sub-Saharan Africa $95 Billion a Year, UN Says

Sub-Saharan Africa’s economies lose a combined average of $95 billion a year because women have fewer job opportunities than men, the United Nations Development Programme said, urging greater equality to help nations boost growth.

“If gender gaps can be closed in labor markets, education, health and other areas, then poverty and hunger eradication can be achieved,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said in comments before the agency released its annual Africa Human Development Report in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on Sunday.

African women make 70 cents for each dollar earned by men, according to the report. It noted a 0.75 percent drop in the human development index for every 1 percent increase in gender inequality.

“Closing the gender gap would not only set Africa on a double-digit economic growth track, but would also significantly contribute to meeting its development goals,” UNDP Africa Director Abdoulaye Mar Dieye told reporters.

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