FRW news in brief

    | April 14, 2014

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    1-World Bank: Gender gap holds back women farmers in Africa

    A new report by the World Bank looks at the role of women in agriculture across sub-Saharan Africa.

    The report, Levelling the field: Improving opportunities for women farmers in Africa, examines the status of women farmers in Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Niger, Ethiopia and Malawi. Looking at the inequality in crop production between men and women farmers, the report states that women face a “pervasive inequality” which must be addressed to boost food security and economic growth while reducing poverty.

    The report states that, though half of agricultural workers in Africa are women, agriculture in Africa has “deep-rooted gender gaps.” World Bank Africa Region Vice President Makhtar Diop stated that strengthening land rights and ensuring equal access to inputs and resources is the only way to address this imbalance.

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    2-Ethiopia: Influx of refugees from conflict in South Sudan

    Gambella is one of the poorest regions in Ethiopia. Since the conflict in South Sudan started last December, 76,000 refugees have arrived in this part of a country already known for food insecurity.

    The UN’s High Commission for Refugees, or UNHCR, is expecting more than 150,000 people to cross the border from South Sudan, fleeing the violence in that country. South Sudanese refugees are also migrating to Uganda and Kenya, and north to Sudan. The situation is making humanitarian relief very difficult.

    According to UNHCR, 95 per cent of those seeking refuge are women and children, while boys are being forced to join a side of the conflict. While the governments of Ethiopia and Gambella region say borders will remain open and those fleeing violence will not be turned away, UNHCR states that health services and malnutrition are concerns which must be addressed.

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    3-Rwanda: World Bank gives $70 million to combat poverty

    The World Bank is giving Rwanda a $46 million loan and a grant of $24 million as the last instalment of a three-year aid program to fight poverty and combat natural disasters.

    The number of Rwandans living in extreme poverty has dropped over the last ten years from 40 per cent to 24 per cent. Twenty years ago, the genocide claimed the lives of over 800,000 Rwandans. Since then, President Paul Kagame has opened Rwanda to foreign investment, though there are limits to political opposition and freedom of the press.

    The World Bank expects Rwanda’s economy to grow by 7.5 per cent in 2014, which is in line with the government’s own projections. However, the risk of natural disasters caused by torrential rains poses a threat to the country’s economy.

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