ERC and IDRC Twentieth Annual Senior Policy Seminar Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW): Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa

Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa | Kampala, Uganda March 11, 2018


The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) will be holding its twentieth annual Senior Policy Seminar (SPSXX) in Kampala, Uganda on the theme Regional Integration in Africa from March 12-13, 2018 As part of the pre-SPS activities, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) will partner with the AERC to present the findings of The Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) programme in Africa, to high level African policy makers on March 11, 2018. The workshop will highlight GrOW’s synthesized research findings, analysis and policy recommendations on key policy areas around gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in an accessible format. GROW is a joint initiative of the IDRC, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The five year programme has funded 14 research projects in 50 countries around the world, and generated new evidence on women’s economic empowerment and links to economic growth in low income countries. A great deal of evidence from African countries is emerging, and this seminar will build on the AERC SPS to bring together key regional policymakers and scholars. The research findings to be presented focus around the constraints that women face to develop their economic opportunities, and what can be done to address these. Policy-relevant issues will be discussed, and evidence presented on effective responses that should arguably be piloted or scaled. Questions include: What explains the level of women’s labour force participation, and the type and quality of jobs they obtain? In which sectors do they find employment? Of particular interest is analysis of the most marginalised forms of employment. What determines school to work transitions for young women? What role does women’s care burden play in their ability to develop economic opportunities?  

2. Objectives and expected results of the GrOW dissemination session

The objectives of the session are to:

  • Disseminate and engage policy makers on state-of-the-art evidence on what works to promote women’s economic empowerment and growth in Sub Saharan Africa;
  • To provide an opportunity for policy makers and researchers to identify pathways by which GrOW research findings can be applied at the country level to effect change;
  • Foster peer learning and information exchange, and connect key experts with policy makers and potential users of the evidence;
  • Identify directions and partnerships for future policy oriented research and programming on women’s economic empowerment.

3. Expected results

Policy makers and other participants will have a better understanding of the nature and magnitude of barriers to women’s economic empowerment; strategies to mitigate those barriers and close the gender gaps in earnings and productivity; and links between women’s economic empowerment, gender equality, economic growth and structural change in Africa. Participants will also better understand the policy implications of the research results and have a platform to reflect on and envision what policy makers and development partners can do collaboratively to develop and initiate programmes that seek to address effectively the issue of empowering women in Africa.


The workshop will take place on Sunday March 11, 2018 at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa in Kampala, Uganda. Registration opens at 1:00pm and the workshop starts at 1:30pm.  


IDRC is a Canadian Crown corporation funding research in developing countries to advance knowledge and solve practical development problems, to promote inclusive growth, reduce poverty, inequalities and exclusion, and drive large-scale positive change. IDRC’s work seeks to align itself with global and regional frameworks including the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda, and achievement of the AU Agenda 2063. The AERC was established in 1988, as a premier capacity building institution in the advancement of research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of the most active Research and Capacity Building Institutions (RCBIs) in the world, with a focus on Africa. AERC implements its activities through a programme that has three primary components: research, training and policy outreach. The AERC is a capacity building network institution that integrates high quality economic policy research, postgraduate training and policy outreach within a vast network of researchers, universities and policy makers across Africa and beyond. AERC has increasingly received global acclaim for its quality products and services, and is ranked highly among global development think tanks.  

6. Additional information about the workshop

This Senior Policy Seminar will include a mix of presentations, expert panels and dialogue sessions. An agenda will be circulated with a comprehensive list of speakers and information on the order of the day. Presentations will feature evidence from a range of studies on women’s economic empowerment in Africa. The workshop will bring together high level policymakers and stakeholders from across Africa and beyond to discuss new findings that can inform social and economic policies to improve the lives of poor women. Participation is by invitation from the organisers.

All workshop papers and keynote speeches are expected to be published online by AERC and IDRC. If you have questions regarding organisational aspects of the workshop, please contact: or