unctad.org | Has trade liberalization contributed to improving the situation of women in Angola?
Has trade liberalization contributed to improving the situation of women in Angola?
18 November 2013
Trade liberalization has reinforced the extractive character of the Angolan economy, but has not altered the employment profile of female workers. For the time being, women are still largely found in low-productivity and low-income activities, an UNCTAD study has found.


The study, entitled Who is Benefiting from Trade Liberalization in Angola? A Gender Perspective, seeks to explore the impacts of Angola's integration into the world economy mainly as an oil exporter, and in particular, to analyse whether there is a gender bias in the effects of trade.

The findings suggest that the extractive nature of Angola's economy has significantly constrained its diversification potential, and has limited the development of productive activities that could absorb the female workforce and provide women with decent incomes.

Angola's natural resource endowments - particularly oil, but also diamonds - have made it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. And yet, the country's extractive sector has so far only integrated into the domestic economy in a limited way, and its contribution to employment generation has been modest. In addition, Angola is still recovering from the 40-year-long armed struggle that led to drastic declines in agricultural and manufacturing production.

Moreover, a defining characteristic of the Angolan labour market is the size of the informal sector, which is proportionately one of the largest in the developing world. This sector provides the main occupation for 70 per cent of the female population in the country.

This newly published UNCTAD study takes a close look at the role of women in Angola's economy and society as it attempts to answer the following questions:

  • What strategies could be put in place to address the potential exclusionary effects of Angola's trade liberalization?

  • How can women take advantage of the positive spillovers from Angola's extractive economy and ultimately benefit from trade?

  • What kind of sectoral policies can be promoted in order to generate new opportunities for women and have them benefit more from the booming economy?


 

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