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Oprah Winfrey Is Looking for African Women Who Are Passionate About Public Service
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Lerato Mogoatlhe*

Oprah Winfrey and students from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. 2011. Picture credit People Magazine

Oprah Winfrey and students from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
2011. Picture credit People Magazine

Oprah Winfrey is once again lending her name and influence to help educate and empower more African women.

The mogul — who is fondly known as Mama Oprah in South Africa — announced that the Oprah Winfrey Foundation has launched a fully-funded fellowship aimed at empowering African women who are in public service.

It offers women from African countries the chance to study for free at New York University’s (NYU’s) Wagner graduate school of public service — in the hope of supporting Africa-led solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.

The African Women’s Public Service Fellowship — a partnership between Winfrey and NYU — will provide full tuition, fees, housing, travel to and from the United States, and a stipend to cover books and other expenses.

The aim of the fellowship is to “expand the opportunity for African women” who want to change public service in their countries,according to the New York University (NYU).

The opportunity isn’t open, however, to applicants who are looking to fund advanced professional certificates and non-degree programmes, NYU highlights.

To qualify, applicants must also be a citizen and resident in an African country; have a strong academic record; and a proven commitment to public service in their country or around the continent.

The fellowship is applicable to study on these programmes at Wagner: Masters of Public Administration (MPA) in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy; MPS in Health Policy & Management; Master of Urban Planning, and Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) for Public Service Leaders.

Recipients of the fellowship also must commit to returning to their home countries when the programme ends, with the goal of taking on a leadership position in Africa — where they can “meaningfully contribute to the challenges currently confronting Africa,” the university says.

To apply for the opportunity, applicants must send an essay, a one-minute submission video, and fill out this online application form by Dec. 2.

Candidates who make the shortlist will be invited to Skype interviews with the selection committee by mid-February 2020.

The fellowship joins many other education initiatives supported by the Oprah Winfrey Foundation.

Speaking at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 event that was held in Johannesburg in Dec. 2018, Winfrey said society can change if we all play our part, no matter how small, in helping others.

“I always thought it was because Madiba was a citizen of the world that he really got to see how the power of one leads to the empowering of many,” she said. “He knew when a society is wounded, we all bleed.”

She added: “As Maya Angelou taught me: Your legacy isn’t some big grand gesture that’s waiting to happen, your legacy is every life you touch… I built a school right here in South Africa to help girls become leaders of a new South Africa. Every time one of them succeeds, it is my greatest reward.”

*Source Global Citizen

 

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Deloitte Africa honoured for efforts towards increasing representation of women
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Johannesburg, 06 September 2019 – Deloitte Africa has been honoured with second place in both the Empowerment of Women in the Community and the Women on Boards categories at this year’s Gender Mainstreaming Awards, held at Gallagher Estate, in Johannesburg, last night.

Managed by Business Engage, these awards aim to encourage private sector buy-in to achieving more meaningful representation of women in the mainstream of business and to serve as a springboard for further achievement for companies that are still starting out on their gender diversity journey.

Deloitte Africa was this year also awarded two further accolades in the individual categories, with the chairman of Deloitte Africa, Trevor Brown, winning the Trailblazer award in the Inclusive Leadership category; and the leader of Diversity and Inclusion for the company’s Africa operations, Eshana Manichand, being named the second place finalist for the Positive Role Model: Management award.

Deloitte Africa was also selected as a finalist for the Mainstreaming Gender and Disability award.

Justine Mazzocco – Managing Director of Talent and Transformation, Deloitte Africa –

says the company is immensely proud to be recognised for its efforts to increase the representation and retention of women on their staff.

“We are working hard to ensure that our talent pool is diverse and reflects the make-up of our society. Operating a diverse and inclusive organisation is also fundamental in this area and we seek to leverage our differences as a strength that makes our organisation better,” Mazzocco says, “Some of the initiatives we’ve implemented include focusing on creating an environment that enables women to achieve their ambitions and embraces generational diversity. To date, we have a record 33% female representation on the Africa board, and a 31% women ownership as of 1 June this year, which further highlights our commitment to elevating women at strategic levels”.

On winning the award for Inclusive Leadership, Brown says, he has always had a natural affiliation towards gender equality, even before it became a corporate imperative.

“Mutual respect and the belief that all people should be treated with dignity must underpin organisational culture,” he says, “The tone at the top, when it comes to gender equality, drives the ethos throughout the organisation. Being intentional about diversity and driving gender equality is of utmost importance to Deloitte, and especially key to me in my leadership role.”

Manichand said of her achievement, “With our global ALL IN strategy we have reinforced our commitment to maintaining an organisation where everyone has an equal opportunity to grow, develop, and succeed; to be their truest selves, both professionally and personally.

She says Deloitte Africa aims to increase the representation and retention of under-represented groups across all levels of the organisation, with a particular focus on women.

“Investing our time, effort and energy in people and witnessing their moment of success is extremely rewarding and purposeful,” she says.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about to learn more about our global network of member firms.

Deloitte provides audit & assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Deloitte serves four out of five Fortune Global 500® companies through a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories bringing world-class capabilities, insights and service to address clients’ most complex business challenges. To learn more about how Deloitte’s approximately 264,000 professionals make an impact that matters, please connect with us on FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter.

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Washington Braces Up for Mega Forum on Making African Trade Easy
September 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

-Q& A with Angelle Kwemo  on Mate 2019

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Angelle Kwemo Founder and CEO Of Believe in Africa

Angelle Kwemo Founder and CEO Of Believe in Africa

 

Trade, the African Continental Free Trade Area, Prosper Africa initiative, business networks and more will be in focus during the upcoming Making African Trade Easy Forum organized by Believe in Africa Foundation. Considering that this is the 5th anniversary of Believe in Africa, we decided to do something different, says Founder and CEO Angelle Kwemo in a preview of the forum with Pan African Visions.

“We are strongly mobilizing the African diaspora, African, and American firms to explore partnership opportunities,” says Angelle Kwemo. Also expected at the event are several African leaders and close to 200 participants from Africa.

With experience working in diverse legislative and policy circles in the US, and Africa, Angelle Kwemo believes that MATE 2019 which runs from October 3-4 will provide a unique platform for delegates to understand and explore the myriad of business opportunities in the light of  recent developments in both Africa and the USA.

You are Founder and Chair of Believe in Africa, could you start by introducing the organization for us and what it does?

Believe in Africa is a non profit organization created by African diaspora leaders to promote African solutions to African problems, advocate for increasing the role of the African private sector into the continent’s economic transformation, promoting intra African trade,  and last but not the least promoting investment in women, and youth.  What we do is organize meetings, seminars, and create platforms to facilitate partnerships.

The organization is hosting the Making Africa Trade Easy Fair in Washington, DC, can you shed light on this?

This year is our fifth-year anniversary. We decided to do something special in Washington DC where the organization was born. Three important policies changes happen this year that coincided with our mission and will be at the center of MATE. Private sector, Finance and intra African trade.

  • Prosper Africa initiative announced by the current administration is perfectly in line with our vision to put the African private sector at the center of the continent’s economic growth as well as at the center of US Africa cooperation. We strongly believe that Africa should gradually get out of the “Aid dependency”. This can only happen if Africa attains its economic independence. That independence will begin when the African private sector will be strong and prosperous. Also, with Africa’s population growth exceeding the billion, Job creation is an emergency. Those jobs will not come from the public sector, nor from the humanitarian programs. Therefore, it is imperative that the governments, Africans, and partners like the US, MUST create the enabling environment for the African private sector to prosper. This also applies on US foreign policies. I believe this is what Prosper Africa intends to do. Support the private sector to double US Africa two ways trade.
  • International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), will open soon. Created by the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILT Act) with 60 billion USD appropriated (double of OPIC), it is one of the biggest changes in U.S. development policy in recent years. The DFC will combine the Overseas Private Investment Corporation(OPIC) and the S. Agency for International Development’s Development Credit Authority, add new development finance capabilities, including equity authority, and have a higher lending limit than its predecessor. It is aimed at advancing private-sector-led development and will prioritize low-income and low-middle income countries, where the DFC’s services will have the greatest impact.
  • This July the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) became effective, creating the world’s largest single market, including the world’s fastest growth economies. It is historical and creating the biggest opportunity of our lifetime. By 2030, Africa will have a combined consumer and business spending of $6.7 trillion in 2030. We should all play a role in making the continental market successful.

It is for these three reasons that as the African diaspora in the U.S., we decided to use our networks to help in promoting these policies with the concept of MATE.

MATE is a collaborative effort between us, USAID, and the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center to promote Prosper Africa, and African Economic integration in order to strengthen U.S. – Africa trade relations and double two ways trade between both continents using the bridge created by the African diaspora.

Any projections on the level of participation from companies and businesses, and what will represent a successful MATE forum for you?

We are strongly mobilizing the African diaspora, African and American firms to explore partnership opportunities. As you know, the African diaspora is historically, culturally, and emotionally connected with the continent. Their proximity with the continent has been unutilized until today. They are the most effective US ambassadors to the continent. They abide by the American standards and have good understanding of both continent’s ways of doing business. With MATE, we want to equip them with tools that they need to trade and invest more in Africa. In doing so, they are not only contributing to the development of the continent, but they also promoting American products and services, and creating badly needed jobs in both continents.

That is why we are also bringing together U.S. agencies under Prosper Africa hospice, African leaders from both the public and private sectors to discuss and explore partnership opportunities.

How will the program of  events look like, what should participants expect?

The MATE program will comprise plenary sessions, workout sessions, seminars and roundtables. We will discus investment opportunities in various sectors like Technology and digital, AfCFTA, healthcare, agribusiness, textile and fashion, power.

Participants will get more insights or learn about resources available in the U.S through “Prosper Africa”, meet potential partners and investors. We will hold exhibitions, and create platforms for B2B and B2C.

Also, we are planning a special session on Women in Agriculture to coincide with our annual “AWAA” meeting. African Women in Agriculture and Arts (AWAA)” is a platform dedicated to empowering women in agriculture, especially in rural areas, enabling them to become self-reliant, productive and competitive. AWAA network was launched last year in Morocco under the hospice of H.E. Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou. We will bring women leaders from Africa to Washington to showcase their products and explore the U.S. market.

May we know some of the dignitaries who have confirmed participation at the event?

On the African side, we will have two heads of States in attendance H.E. Roch Kabore, President of Burkina Faso, H.E. Felix Tsisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahama, Chair AU Commission, H.E. Albert M. Muchanga, AU Commissioner of Trade and Industry, H.E. Lesego Makgothi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations of Lesotho, Chantal Yelu Mulop, SA President of Congo on youth and violence against Women, high level representation of Afrexim Bank, Niger, Lesotho, Guinea, Mauritious, Rwanda, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, and Senegal.

We will host Africa’s biggest women advocate like H.E. Adjoavi Sika Kaboré, First Lady of Burkina Faso, H.E. Aisha Buhari, and First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and H.E. Aissata Mahamadou, First lady of Niger.

On the U.S.G side, we will have, Hon. Tibor Nagy, Assistant Secretary on Africa, Hon. Ramsey Day, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa, USAID, Hon. Constance Hamilton, AUSTR for Africa, Hon. Oren Wyche-Shaw, Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID, Matthew Rees, Prosper Africa Coordinator, Tom Hardy, Acting Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, CD Glin, President & CEO, US Africa Development Foundation, Hon Alicia Robinson-Morgan, Director for Africa, Millenium Challenge Corporation, and Worku Gachou, Director for Africa, International Development Finance Corporation.

In the private sectors, we have more than 200 companies including large ones

like OCP, MTN, Standard Charted Bank and many more for more than 20 countries.

There will be a special session hosted by the African Women in Agriculture and Arts (AWAA), a platform dedicated to empowering women in agriculture, especially in rural areas

There will be a special session hosted by the African Women in Agriculture and Arts (AWAA), a platform dedicated to empowering women in agriculture, especially in rural areas

How much participation do you expect to come from Africa?

We are expecting around 200 participants from Africa. I must be honest to say that the most recent developments in U.S.  immigrations and visa policies have been counterproductive because it is difficult to imagine doubling two ways trade when African partners are unable to visit the U.S. It is also part of our duties to raise awareness about obstacles to trade. American needs to make sure its policies and all agencies policies are not self destructive, and pushing Africa closer to China, Russia and other competitors.

What is your take on the overall strategy of the Trump administration towards Africa, what has changed in the sphere of development and trade?

I want to remain objective and nonpartisan as African policies have always been in the past. On the trade front, I think the administration has good intentions: help Africa become less dependent on aid. If you run a poll in Africa on this subject, the majority of Africans will agree. The question now is how?  I think it will start with a big mind shift that American will have to make. Africa has changed, and the new Africans are ready for business and they are open to explore different avenues. I think American firms should come to the realization that they are in a competitive field and learn to adjust accordingly. This is the most difficult part.

Lastly America needs to innovate in their foreign policy approach and use the cultural bridge that the African diaspora represents. I will not emphasize it enough.   Diaspora entrepreneurs are also pragmatic. If they don’t find support in the U.S. they will find it somewhere else. It would be a waste.

As I said earlier, immigration policies send wrong signal to our African partners. How can you do business with someone who is not welcome in your country?

After MATE, what next for Believe in Africa, any other big projects or ventures in the horizon?

We will continue to build MATE and AWAA. I will give you more details in October 4, 2019. Big announcement are coming.

*Originally published by Pan African Visions, contact,pav@panafricanvisions.com, Tel:12404292177

 

 

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Susan Dexter: From Sierra Leone To Running The Victorian Candle Bed and Breakfast, the number one getaway in Hollywood Maryland
September 3, 2019 | 1 Comments

By  Ajong Mbapndah L & Amos Fofung

This beautiful Bed & Breakfast is nestled on 12 wooded acres in Hollywood, MD, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

This beautiful Bed & Breakfast is nestled on 12 wooded acres in Hollywood, MD, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

Planning a getaway from the hustle and bustle that characterize everyday life especially in the DMV area?  The Victorian Candle Bed and Breakfast located in Hollywood, MD offers you a unique taste of luxury at a very affordable price.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a bed and breakfast is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast. Bed and breakfast are often private owned facilities and typically have between four and eleven rooms, with six being the average. In addition, a B&B usually has the hosts living in the house offering exceptional services, and giving their guest the home feeling lacking in most hotels.

Founder and CEO Susan Dexter says the Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast is at ease offering American and African cuisine . Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

Founder and CEO Susan Dexter says the Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast is at ease offering American and African cuisines . Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

With an exquisite 8 suits ready to accommodate you and your peers, Victorian Candle B&B according to its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Susan Dexter, prides itself as one of the few African-owned bed and breakfast in the DMV. Originally from Sierra Leone, Susan Dexter has put in enormous time and resources to make the Victorian Candle B&B  a force to reckon with.

“This is a good place to come because of the food. We can cook anything someone wants us to cook be it African or American cuisine. If you have events here, we work with you financially, and I do not think most of the other bed and breakfast do same. Most of them, when they do their breakfast, it is continental, but mine is hot food that meets your everyday need, all upon your request and taste,” she said in a chat with Pan African Visions.

The Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast has well furnished and neat rooms, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

The Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast has well furnished and neat rooms, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

Asked  if accommodations can be provided for private ceremonies, the CEO responded that “it is a bed and breakfast were we have 8 suits and I mind you, the rooms come with a full breakfast menu, we also have a room called Butler room where we host private events like birthdays, small weddings, conferences, and meetings among others.”

With a sitting capacity of over 75 guests, the Butler room as it is known, resonates calmly with the serene environment perfect for a quiet ceremony or private getaway.

Situated in an environmentally friendly location called Surally plantation with close-by rivers that offer guest the opportunity to purchase fresh fish, the CEO of Victorian Candle B&B makes very good use of the natural environment which provides fresh vegetables and African spices for the cuisine.

“There are a lot of farms that you can pick vegetables or if you like potatoes, fresh corn and others, provided by the Armish people that inhabit this locality. It is a good place for relaxation due to its quiet and beautiful environment,” added Susan Dexter.

The strategic location of the Victorian Candle B&B also comes with opportunities for visitors or patrons to get easy access to other facilities for hiking, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, picnicking and cycling.

During the Thanksgiving period, the Victorian  Candle Bed and Breakfast sells smoked turkey and sides including macaroni and cheese recipes, stuffing casserole, mashed potatoes and more. “We are working hard  to get these products in stores around soon,” Susan Dexter said.

With little over 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry, the founder says, thanks to her dedicated staff and love for hospitality, the place is gaining momentum with growing customers base who have been entreated with the Victoria B&B experience.

*For more information, visit www.victorian-candle.com

contact The Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast
25065 Peregrine Way
Hollywood MD 20636-2698
301-373-8800

email:reservations@victorian-candle.com

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#VisaFreeAfrica Initiative Announces Winners of 55 Voices for Africa Competition
August 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Merck Foundation to conduct 6th Edition of “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” October 2019 in Ghana
August 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
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#VoiceandChoice & State of Women in SADC Barometers launched
August 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Gender activists from across Southern Africa will on 22 August launch the#VoiceandChoice 2019 Barometer alongside the  State of Women in SADC 2019 report.

The Barometer has been produced for the last eleven years by the Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance, a network of Women’s Rights Organisations that campaigned for the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development in 2008, its updating and alignment to the Sustainable Development Goals in 2016.

In keeping with global and regional trends, reflected in the #MeToo, #TimesUp, #TotalShutdown and related campaigns, the 2019 Barometer departs with past tradition in focusing specifically on Sexual Reproductive Health and Right (SRHR).

The 2019 #VoiceandChoice Barometer is the first civil society shadow report on the recently adopted SADC SRHR strategy.  It measures 100 indicators in seven thematic areas including Sexual and Reproductive Health; adolescent SRHR; safe abortion; GBV; HIV and AIDS; harmful practices and sexual diversity. The State of Women report details progress made against the provisions of the SADC Gender Protocol using two important yardsticks, the empirical SADC Gender and Development Index (SGDI) and Citizen Score Card (CSC) to measure progress made towards Gender Equality in the region.

The key findings of the two reports include:

  • With an SGDI score of 60%, just one percentage point higher than last year, the region needs to up its game if it is to achieve gender equality by 2030. Seychelles has the highest SGDI score and South Africa the third highest SGDI score in the region.
  • The CSC which measures citizen’s opinions and perceptions on government effort on addressing gender equality has increased from 62% in 2018 to 66% in 2019 for the region, showing that citizens are slightly more buoyant than what the actual figures show regarding the progress on gender equality.
  • The SADC Gender Progress score which measures gender attitudes has increased to from 53% in 2017 to 60% in 2019. Seychelles and Malawi (66%) have the highest GPS. 49% of respondents said that people should be treated the same whether they are women or men, yet 46% agreed or strongly agreed that a woman should obey her husband.
  • SRHR is now firmly on the Southern African agenda but gaps remain in data collection, legislation, policy, and service delivery for women and girls. The region has made significant strides with the adoption of the Mahe Declaration on SRHR (2016) and the SADC SRHR Strategy (2018) with an accompanying score card. Using the SRHR indicators in the SADC strategy for which data could be gathered, South Africa leads the way, with progressive laws and policies on abortion and sexual diversity, but still many challenges with implementation.
  • Only two SADC countries, Seychelles and Mauritius, meet the global target of less than 70 deaths per 100 000 live births for pregnant women and girls. The maternal mortality rate is ten times more in the DRC.
  • Adolescent fertility ratios in the region range from 27 per 1000 women in Mauritius to 152 per 1000 women in Angola.
  • Only six SADC countries (DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia) have stand-alone Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (ASRHR) policies or strategies. Only five countries (Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania) in SADC do not require parental consent for adolescents to access SRHR services.
  • The age of access to contraceptives in SADC ranges from 12 in five countries to 18 in one.
  • Only South Africa and Mozambique have legislation that allows abortion on demand in the first trimester. Abortion is available under certain circumstances in all SADC countries, with varying degrees of restriction.
  • Women, and especially young women, comprise the highest proportion of those living with HIV and AIDS, except for the islands (Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles) where intravenous drug needles are the main means of transmission.
  • Only six countries have valid National Action Plans (NAPs) on GBV, 10 have expired NAPS and only three have fully costed NAPs. South Africa broke new ground with a presidential summit on GBV in 2018, and is establishing a multi sector forum to tackle GBV head on.
  • While all SADC countries meet the requirement of the minimum age of 18 for marriage for men, only three countries (Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa) stipulate 18 as the minimum age of marriage for women and men with no exceptions, i.e. are compliant with the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. In eight SADC countries (Angola, DRC, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) over one third of all young women are married by the age of 18.
  • Homosexuality is now legal in one third of Southern African countries including South Africa, Seychelles, Angola, Mozambique, Lesotho, Madagascar and DRC. However, only South Africa allows for same sex marriages and civil unions.

 

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Ghana’s Affirmative Action a reality or a mere rhetoric
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Co- Convener, for the CSO Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens’ Participation, Efua Edith Chidi

Co- Convener, for the CSO Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens’ Participation, Efua Edith Chidi

 

The CSOs Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens Participation, a body of 62 active CSOs in Ghana and other interest groups, has officially out doored a campaign aimed at calling on the Ghanaian government to fast-track the laying of the Affirmative Action bill towards its passage by its current Parliament. Affirmative Action is a set of temporary measures targeted at protected groups in order to enable or encourage members of those groups to overcome or minimize disadvantage to meet the different needs of the protected group.

In Ghana, Affirmative Action was needed to fill the gaps created by gender imbalances in the country’s political, economic and social spaces. Many stakeholders were engaged with public resources to map out the gaps and put together a draft for consideration and passage. 13 years down the line, this bill is yet to be a reality.

Ghana has committed to Affirmative Action by signing and endorsing the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action, the SDGs and the Commonwealth Plan of Action on Gender Equality which set a minimum target of 30% of women in decision making position by 2015, the African Union (AU) Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and AU Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality which targets 50% representation of men and women in public and political offices in Member States. Unfortunately, in the Ghanaian parliament, female representation is just 13.8%; only 23 women out of 124 ministers are representing just 18.55%; less than 10% women representation in all District Assemblies, this clearly demonstrated that despite the provisions under the constitution and the ratification of various international human rights laws, these laws can only be useful if an Affirmative Action Law is not passed and implemented to create an environment which is gender inclusive and gender responsive.

This, the co-convener of CSOs Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens Participation  Efua Edith Chidi argued that, since the Country’s independence, most plans for Women empowerment has become a mere rhetoric because the recognition of the role played by women activists during the struggle for independence, where 10 women were nominated and appointed to the legislature as part of the introduction of Representation of the People (Women Members) Bill in 1960 to establish consciousness for gender equality and women’s empowerment has been avoided by successive governments.

She cited countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi and Guinea Bissau who started the Affirmative Action journey later than Ghana, but had passed their bills and are implementing with impressive progress while Ghana marks time with even the laying of the bill in parliament.

In responding to this actions by the CSOs, the Department of Gender under the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection has acknowledged the receipt of the written petition sent to the department seeking the update on the bill. The Director of the Department Rev, Dr Comfort Asare in a two page document wrote back to the group stating chronologically efforts made by government from 2011 to 2018 stating that bill is currently with the Ministry for some comments, after it went through series of scrutiny at the Attorney General’s department.

Rev. Dr Asare says the next steps to be taken before the bill is passed includes the Resubmission of the bill to cabinet, Gazetting the bill, Tabling the bill before parliament and advocacy and sensitization on the bill. She however did not give any time frame of which the bill will be resubmitted for further actions talk less of when her Department will be done commenting on the bill.

Background

It will be recalled that, at the first United Nations Conference on Women in 1975,Ghana set up the National Council on Women and Development (NCWD) now known as the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection as the national machinery, to support government-wide efforts in empowering women through income generation, social mobilization and social development.

After the Beijing Conference in 1995, NCWD submitted a proposal for Affirmative Action and Gender mainstreaming to the Office of the President, to formulate guidelines for the promotion of Gender equality, rights and opportunities for women in Ghana. Eventually, the NCWD was placed within the Office of the President; with linkages to relevant MMDAs to enable it play an active role in facilitating cooperation between all agencies of government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). It set the pace for the establishment of an improved administrative framework for addressing women’s affairs by creating Gender Desk Officers (GDOs) in most MDAs. Their role was to ensure that gender concerns are incorporated into sector policies, plans and programmes of MDAs. Mainstreaming Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment into Ghana’s Development Efforts, in May, 2015.

But successive governments have paid lip services to the passage of the bill after numerous call from all fronts.

 

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Climate Change would cause losses to Agriculture, African Union Official warns
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Mohammed M.Mupenda
Josefa Sacko, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union

Josefa Sacko, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union

Agriculture in Africa is likely to experience significant production losses as the planet warms due to effects of climate change ,unless farmers practice climate smart agriculture, an African Union (AU) official said on Monday.
Increase in global temperatures and rainfall reduction due to climate change poses a serious threat to agriculture production in Africa as many farmers in Africa still practice traditional subsistence farming, Josefa Sacko, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union, said at the Africa Food Security Leadership Dialogue in Rwandan capital Kigali.
Africa is more vulnerable to climate change’s disastrous effects than others because of its high dependency on agriculture as a means of survival, said Sacko.
Actionable collaboration among farmers, policy makers, development partners and government leaders is needed for adapting African agriculture to climate change, she said.

 

According to her, much is needed to drive climate smart agriculture agenda and highlight its importance in achieving increased agricultural yield and productivity on the continent.

 

AU is working with different countries to reduce agriculture production loss along the value chains and waste to adhere to the Paris Agreement on climate change, she said.

 

The meeting that runs through Tuesday seeks to find a solid action towards adaptation of Africa’s agriculture and food systems to climate change.

 

The two-day event brings together ministers of agriculture and finance, heads of international institutions and Regional Economic Commissions, Nobel laureates, and eminent scientists to catalyze actions and financing to help address Africa’s worsening food security crisis under climate change

 

About 95 percent of the food grown in Africa is very vulnerable to adverse weather conditions such as droughts and irregular rainfall, according to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

 

Africa is the most food-insecure region with about 20% of the population or 256 million people undernourished, according to the joint report by Regional Office for Africa of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the United Nations for Economic Commissions for Africa.
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US Congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Ghana
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Speaker Pelosi in Ghana

Speaker Pelosi in Ghana

The speaker of U.S. Congress, Nancy Pelosi is in Ghana as head of a Congressional delegation to hold discussions with President Nana Akufo-Addo and to address Ghana’s lawmakers.

While in Ghana, Pelosi and other members of the U.S. Congress plan discussions on “regional security, sustainable and inclusive development and the challenges of tomorrow including the climate crisis.”

During her stay in Ghana, Speaker Pelosi and her delegation will visit the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles to observe the 400 anniversary of the first enslaved Africans being shipped to America.

Members of the delegation include the House Majority Whip James Clyburn, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Karen Bass and representatives Barbara Lee and John Lewis.

“I consider this to be a fitting and proper way to commemorate the 400th year since the enslaved people were forced to leave their homeland and sent in bondage to the New World,” said Clyburn.

“I seek to pay homage to the sacrifices of our African ancestors and honor the contributions they made to building the United States of America.”

Bass said: “On this delegation, 12 members of the Congressional Black Caucus will return to the African continent as members of the United States Congress. We have come so far but we still have so far to go.

Among the history being made this trip, I am very much also looking forward to witnessing the first woman Speaker of the United States House of Representatives address the Ghanaian parliament.”

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Kenya:LREB summit postponed following the demise of its vice-chair
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

Dr Joyce Laboso.

Dr Joyce Laboso.

Kenya’s Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) has called off its conference due to death of its vice-chairperson Joyce Laboso. She passed on Monday, July 29 at the Nairobi hospital after battling cancer for some years. The summit had been scheduled to kick off between 1st and 2nd August.

Lake Region Economic Bloc is a joint economic growth and development strategy that brings together 14 counties from western Kenya. The block was founded in 2015 by the governors of the respective counties in a bid to empower the region economically. It is driven by a number of pillars which include agriculture, tourism, education, health, financial services, environment, climate change, infrastructure and technology.

The members had agreed to come up with a regional bank to unlock its potential through project funding and financial inclusion of communities in the region. The counties agreed to contribute USD$2 million towards the establishment of the commercial bank. Some of the agricultural sub-sectors set to be revived by the bloc are sugar, cotton, coffee, dairy and fish.

“Our region is strategically placed to serve as a gateway to East and Central Africa and we also share a large water body in Lake Victoria which serves around 44.9 million people in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. The implementation of these projects will include jointly setting aside land for development of industrial cities, modernized workforce and landing bays, development of inter-county road circuits, refurbishing of ports, water hyacinth clearing and dredging Lake Victoria,” said the Chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya.

In a statement delivered to media on Tuesday, the organizers of the event led by the bloc’s chairperson said that the summit will take place in future after the burial of the late governor.  The chair lauded the deceased’s exemplary leadership skills, commitment and compassion.

“Through this conference, she managed to help the bloc set its agenda and our national political leaders to focus on national development and cohesion. We regret any inconvenience caused to our various stakeholders by these untimely changes,” he said.

Governor Laboso had gone to United Kingdom and India for treatment for almost two months and jetted back to the country two weeks ago after which he was admitted to Nairobi Hospital for further treatment where she died. She has joined the list of prominent leaders who succumbed to cancer in the country for the last two years and is the third person to die of the deadly disease in July. Others are Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore and lawmaker Ken Okoth.

 

 

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Agenda For Ecowas Movement Set By Sector Players
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica.

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) together with the international Organization for migration and Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has kicked start its sensitization talks on the need to have a National biometric card that will help aid movement of its citizens in the sub-region. The two days programme which is spearheaded by Ghana’s Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration ministry sought to raise awareness within the sub-region on the existing protocols and instruments on free movement on migration.

The sector minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey in a statement at the opening of the program here in Accra, bemoaned the delays in realizing the free movement envisaged by the forebears of the region. She enumerated the challenges of not realizing this dream includes lack of knowledge or understanding of the rights and responsibilities enshrined in the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol and its related texts, irregular migration, transnational crime, such as human trafficking, vulnerability of ECOWAS Community Citizens and many more.

According to her, lack of valid travel documents and identification cards for members, usually amounts to high level of harassment and extortion of money at the borders within the region. Saying ‘’after six decades of independence of ECOWAS member states, should not be where it is now’’ We ought to chart a path towards real regional integration which should lead to the development, prosperity and wellbeing of our people.”

On her part Sylvia Lopez- Ekra,IOM Ghana Chief of Mission, reiterated the need to protect migrants traveling across and within the ECOWAS sub-region. At a forum to sensitization and support government’s efforts on the implementation of the ECOWAS national biometric card, Sylvia Lopez lauded government of Ghana and ECOWAS for providing the platform for engagement. She revealed one in every 7 people there is a migrant and that shows how young African risk their lives through the Mediterranean to travel to Europe.

She advised the need to protect all migrants traveling through ECOWAS region is crucial, and called for a concerted effort to raise public awareness about the vulnerability of the situation.

 

 

 

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