Johannesburg, South Africa 11 June 2015 – The African Union (AU) has stressed the importance of mainstreaming women in all development activities, as Africa seeks to attain integration, prosperity and peace under its Agenda 2063 framework.
AUC Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, in her statement to the opening session of the African Union’s Executive Council in Johannesburg today, called for the acceleration of gender transformation in order to achieve women’s empowerment and development towards Agenda 2063, which is the theme of the African Union for 2015.
One of Agenda 2063’s aspirations is to have an Africa where development is people driven, unleashing the potential of women and the youth. This year’s theme contributes directly to this aspiration.
“Women in Somalia, Central African Republic, Eastern DRC, South Sudan, Darfur, Northern Mali and Northern Nigeria are yearning for peace, for themselves, their children, their families and communities, to live normal lives, to plough their fields and to educate their children”, Dr Dlamini Zuma said, as she highlighted some of the challenges faced by women. She also spoke of the need to consign the hand held hoe to the museum and assist women with access to modern technology, land, credit, and extension services in order to empower women in agriculture and agro industry.
To monitor progress in women’s development, share best practices and hold each other accountable, Dr Dlamini Zuma announced that the on-going summit of the AU will see the launch of an African Gender score card.
The AUC Chairperson also highlighted the need for greater trade amongst African countries, which remains low, saying the launch of the African Continental Free Trade negotiations and other initiatives are aimed at growing trade amongst African countries and creating wealth.
Speaking at the same session as representative of the host country, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mrs Maite Nkoane Mashabane declared that, with “seven of the fastest growing economies in the world being in Africa and the continent being the repository of a variety of resource, the time has never been more opportune for Africa to achieve the things it wants”. Africa, she said, is on the move.
Minister Nkoane Mashabane called on the Executive Council to process the work deposited to it by the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee held from 7-8 June and take it forward to the Heads of State and Government.
“Through us, they (Heads of State and Government) must resolve not only the issues of the implementation of Agenda 2063, but also the necessary resources to fund it as well as matters pertinent to peace and security”, said Minister Nkoane Mashabane.
The United Nations Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr Carlos Lopez spoke about the need for Africa to consolidate its position in the world by ensuring that others “see and feel what we are up to, and are aware of what we consider to be an imperative”. He urged African leaders to “make themselves seen and more importantly, felt” as they drive the continent’s development agenda.
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is also the Chairperson of the Executive Council, Mr Simbarashe Mumbengegwi highlighted the imperative of reviewing the working methods and rules of procedure of the other organs of the Union in order to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness in the discharge of their various mandates.
Urging member states to seek alternative sources of financing the African Union, Minister Mumbengegwi said it is important for Africa to ensure African control over and ownership of the Union and its programmes and activities.
He commended the role played by the AU in the fight against Ebola.
The Executive Council meeting is the second of three statutory meetings to be held under the on-going 25th summit of the African Union, holding from 7th till the 15th of June. The first meeting was that of the Permanent Representatives Committee which was held from 7-8 June in Pretoria. The final meeting of the summit will be that of the Heads of State and Government to take place from 14th to 15th June. It is this body, under its Chairperson President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, which will declare the final outcomes of the summit and the way forward. WZM/HMC
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The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens. AU Vision: to accelerate progress towards an integrated, prosperous and inclusive Africa, at peace with itself, playing a dynamic role in the continental and global arena, effectively driven by an accountable, efficient and responsive Commission. Learn more at: http://www.au.int/en/