Africa is a resource rich continent that can be less dependent on first world countries, and more women need to participate in mainstream economic activities.
These are some of the sentiments emerging at the African Union (AU) pre-summit on gender equality and development.
When a woman rules, streams run uphill.
But as an Ethiopian proverb says “When a woman rules, streams run uphill”. Women ministers, directors and academics from across the continent, have savoured success. However, the majority remain victims of poverty and discrimination.
In Africa more than 70% of women are financially excluded.
AU Commissioner, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace says: “African women face more barriers in accessing financial services including the constraints of time, mobility, illiteracy, cultural constraints and sexual discrimination.”
African Development Bank’s Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi says: “We also have an initiative to create 800 000 jobs over the next few years for young people across the continent. But above all we looking at a financing facility for African women for economic empowerment and work is underway for that facility.”
The key is ensuring that more women are absorbed in the mainstream economy.
South Africa’s Minister of Women Affairs, Susan Shabangu says: “The reality is that a more diverse business has a better understanding of markets that are themselves diverse in terms of gender.”
This session will be concluded on Thursday.
Heads of State arrive on Friday for the main AU summit.