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Equal opportunities, better lives: Gender in Africa

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Sub-Saharan Africa is poised for rapid growth and poverty reduction in the coming decade as many countries implement economic reforms, emerge from conflict, and improve governance. The Bank's recognition of the importance of gender in contributing to this growth is reflected in President Zoellick's six commitments to gender equality and the Bank's gender action plan, as well as the increasing focus on gender in national Poverty Reduction Strategies. In its analytical and operational work, the Bank is working to remove the persistent barriers faced by women in accessing social services, participating in labor and product markets, and becoming leaders in the public and private sectors. Each section explores a policy question and relevant research finding. This is followed by examples of World Bank projects in operations and analytical work on that sector, and concludes with an impact evaluation which exemplifies the ongoing work to broaden our knowledge about what works. Whether to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), promote equitable growth, improve efficiency, reduce conflict, or break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, the focus on gender-responsive activities in the region will remain a priority in the years to come.