The African Development Bank (AfDB), Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) and Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, on Wednesday jointly canvassed the need for the Federal Government to frontally address the problem of gender disparity in the conceptualization, design and delivery of Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects in the country.
The Senior Country Director, African Development Bank, Ebrima Faal, Director General of the ICRC, Mr Chidi Izuwah, the President’s wife and other PPP stakeholders made the recommendation on Wednesday in Abuja at a conference organized by the Commission in Abuja.
The conference had as its theme ‘Strengthening women’s involvement in PPPs: Delivering gender-responsive PPPs in support of the Sustainable Development Goals’.
The President’s wife, who was represented at the forum by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administration, Dr Hajo Sani, explained that the integration of gender perspective in infrastructure development, especially in PPP design and implementation, would bridge the gaps in infrastructure delivery, particularly as it negatively impacts women.
Hajia Buhari said: ‘This conference is not only timely, but very appropriate. While change must reflect the various indices of economic progress, it is imperative that it must deliver significant improvement in the living conditions of all Nigerians, especially women.
“It is therefore my sincere hope that this strategic conference will assist with a clear roadmap that will recognize the critical importance of gender considerations in the design, development and implementation of PPPs and infrastructure in Nigeria”, she stressed.
In his comments, the ICRC Director-General, said the agency had come to the realization that many infrastructure projects in the country were not gender sensitive, adding that to correct the anomaly the commission would incorporate key considerations that would eliminate the present gender disparities in PPP projects.
Izuwah expatiated: “We all have a collective responsibility of placing Nigeria on the path towards attaining the United Nation SDGs.
“We must apply gender sensitivity into our infrastructure policy design and delivery. Our women are daily confronted with challenges that are no fault of theirs and efforts must be made to address them from all fronts.
“Therefore, one of the key goals of this initiatives is to ensure that PPP infrastructure is designed to support women’s economic and domestic activities.”
According to him, infrastructure and PPP projects should be designed in a such a manner that would increase women’s economic opportunities, and eliminate discrimination against girls and women.
AfDB’s Senior Country Director said that there was the need for a favourable regulatory framework that would be sensitive to gender needs in the nation’s construction industry.
Specifically, the development banker canvassed a public procurement framework that would provide technical assistance for gender sensitive PPP projects.