Africa Gender Innovation Lab

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The Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) conducts impact evaluations of development interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa, seeking to generate evidence on how to close the gender gap in earnings, productivity, assets and agency. The GIL team is currently working on over 50 impact evaluations in 21 countries with the aim of building an evidence base with lessons for the region.

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  • Publication
    Top Policy Lessons in Agriculture
    (Washington, DC, 2022-09) World Bank
    Across Africa, agriculture is a primary sector of employment, and African women provide about 40 percent of the agricultural labor across the continent. Yet women farmers face systemic barriers to success, leading to large gender gaps in agricultural productivity that range from 23 percent in Tanzania to 66 percent in Niger. These gender gaps not only represent major untapped economic potential but could also yield sizable gains for African economies if they were closed. For instance, in Nigeria, closing the gender productivity gap in agriculture could boost gross domestic product by an estimated US2.3 billion dollars and potentially as much as US8.1 billion dollars due to spillovers to other economic sectors. Several factors driving female farmers’ lower productivity are the time and bandwidth taxes from care and household responsibilities, limited access to and control of hired labor and other productive inputs, skills and information gaps, low financial liquidity, and restrictive social norms. Over 90 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s extreme poor, who are some of the most vulnerable to shocks, are engaged in agriculture. In the face of crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and global price shocks, that can exacerbate food insecurity, women farmers need targeted support and access to productive inputs that can secure their livelihoods and mitigate existing gender inequalities. Impact evaluation evidence from the Africa Gender Innovation Lab points toward policy solutions that can address many of these constraints and help women farmers reach their full potential.
  • Publication
    Top Policy Lessons from Africa Gender Innovation Lab Research
    (Washington, DC, 2017-10) World Bank
    The study in Togo reveals that psychology-based entrepreneur training (personal initiative training) increases firm profits by 30 percent, compared to a statistically insignificant increase for traditional business training. Personal initiative training was particularly effective for female-owned businesses, who saw their profits increase by 40 percent, compared to no impact from traditional business training. Getting more women into traditionally male-dominated sectors of the economy could boost the incomes of women entrepreneurs and their households. Our study in Ethiopia revealed that firms owned by women who cross over into male-dominated sectors are two times more profitable than firms owned by women who remain in traditionally female sectors, and they are just as profitable as businesses owned by men. Women are more likely to cross-over when parents and husbands support them and when they have access to information on the higher earnings potential in male-dominated sectors.