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2019 Global Gender Summit marks concrete gains and actionable goals to surge ahead on gender equality
November 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

Highlights of the Summit include the launch of:

  • AFAWA risk-sharing facility to de-risk lending to women
  • 50 Million African Women Speak, a Pan-African networking platform
  • Joint UNECA-African Development bank Gender index

“We’ve known it from the beginning that equality and women’s empowerment is the true way for sustainable development,” Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Solina Nyirahabimana told reporters at a 2019 Global Gender Summit press conference on Tuesday.

“During this past 25 years, we have been concentrating on gender equality, starting by creating a conducive environment, uprooting, revising, and abolishing discriminative laws. We’ve worked tirelessly to have women included in the financial sector,” Nyirahabimana said.

“When you don’t understand women, you can’t serve them.”

More than 1,200 delegates are in Kigali, Rwanda for the 2019 Global Gender Summit including distinguished guests such as the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame; the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde; the African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the First Ladies of Rwanda and Kenya. Also in attending are representatives of the heads of state of Gabon, Mali, Senegal, Chad, and the King of Morocco and gender ministers from Niger, Somalia, Senegal, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya.

African Development Bank Group Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Jennifer Blanke, told journalists that much of Summit conversation centered around growing awareness that women need to be part of the development solution.  “Women are a force to be unleashed and supported to ensure that they can really do their part in development in Africa. Women are already such a hugely important part of the development process,” she said.

Key highlights from the 2019 Global Gender Summit include the:

  • Launch of the risk-sharing facility for the Bank-led Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa, or AFAWA, programme – to support the program’s three-pronged approach, which seeks to quickly close the gender gap by facilitating access to finance, providing technical assistance and creating an enabling business environment for women-led businesses to thrive.
  •  50 Million African Women Speak – a new Pan-African networking platform and web and mobile-based application to directly connect 50 million African women entrepreneurs. The platform links women to financial institutions and provides networking opportunities across Africa.
  • The joint United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)-African Development Bank Africa Gender Index – a report that assesses African countries on gender equality.
  • Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and mobile app – the first ever digital B2B and B2C pan-African networking platform, dedicated to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the African textile, apparel and accessories industries.

Also speaking at the press conference marking the close of the Summit’s multilateral development bank segment, the Chairperson of the Multilateral Development Banks’ Gender working group Chairperson, Sonomi Tanaka, said summit discussions were productive and some African countries are carrying out good practices. However, Tanaka noted the critical importance of data in development policies working toward gender equality. “Again and again, this is something that is coming up. This lack of data comes up across any topic…and data is one area we need to continue to focus on,” she said.

Elaborating on the data challenge, Blanke said, “There is a dearth of data on these issues. The bottom line is if we don’t measure it, you don’t do it. If you don’t measure, it means you don’t care about it – and we care about it.”

This Tuesday press conference was the latest in a series of Global Gender Summit activities that will see delegates attend Summit partner-organized workshops, trainings and technical sessions on Wednesday. The Global Gender Summit is organized by The African Development Bank, with other multilateral development bank partners. The biennial event brings together leaders from government, development institutions, the private sector, civil society, and academia.

Under the theme “Unpacking constraints to gender equality,” the Summit’s conversations and dialogue focuses on scaling up innovative financing, enabling legal, regulatory, and institutional environments; and securing women’s participation and voices.

Commenting on the Summit outcome Blanke noted: “The Summit has been all about doing. Doing more and doing it fast.”

*AFDB

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Global Gender Summit 2019: “Put prejudice behind us and give women access to finance,” says Akinwumi Adesina
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina has called for greater access to finance for African women when he addressed the inaugural session of the Global Gender Summit.

“When women borrow, they always repay. And 90% of them repay their loans without the least problem. So, where is the risk? The problem is prejudice and the banks’ lack of flexibility. We must leave this behind to allow women access to financing,” President Adesina urged.

The session headed “Unlocking women’s access to finance in Africa” had a panel of high-level speakers, including Salimata Diop Dieng, the Senegalese Minister of Women, Family and Gender; Andrew Temu, President of the African Guarantee Fund; Kennedy Uzoka, President and CEO of United Bank of Africa (UBA); Joséphine Anan-Ankomah, CEO of Ecobank Group; and Christine Ngiriye, an entrepreneur.

Salimata Diop Deng said, “It is important that financial institutions support initiatives from women. They have the market gardens and produce to process. They create start-ups in innovative areas. But they lack resources and collateral, and the procedures for accessing loans are complicated. These women have relatively moderate finance needs, just enough to create projects and jobs. They need support from the private sector and the banks to help them weave their way into the economy.”

Andrew Temu advocated “holding discussions with countries to improve the business environment. What is especially needed is legislation that reassures the banks. There are a number of actors, banks, investors, entrepreneurs and clients operating within the economic market. Everyone needs to be in communication to address the risks.”

For Anan-Ankomah, ECOBANK is already making big strides to gender parity. The pan-African bank has signed up to the African Union gender parity principle of 50/50. “Currently we are at 46% and out of that, 30% of those women are in senior management positions,” she said.

Ngiriye said that she had seen little change in nearly 30 years: “The problem that comes up again and again is that of collateral.”

According to Adesina the financial sector had a responsibility to the women of Africa. And he made an announcement: “From now on, we shall be grading every African financial institution for how well it helps women. Every financial ecosystem must evolve to support women. And we are going to put pressure on the guarantee banks.”

The African Development Bank and the government of Rwanda are hosting the Global Gender Summit from 25 to 27 November in Kigali. The Summit is being organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender for the first time in Africa.

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Global Gender Summit 2019: African leaders take on the responsibility to urgently close the gender gap
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver but we can deliver differently” – President Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia

‘We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Paul Kagame of Rwanda

“This discrimination is political, economic and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially.’ – Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat

‘ A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank Group

The 2019 Global Gender Summit, the first to be held on the continent, kicked off on Monday with a strong call to surge ahead on gender issues and move from commitment to action.

Africa’s only female President, Sahle-Work Zewde  of Ethiopia, said Ethiopia’s parliament is one of the only two on the continent with over 50% gender parity in seats, and women currently hold key ministerial roles in defense and national security for the first time. Despite her own country’s huge advances, however, the work has just started, she said.

Zewde was speaking during the opening plenary of the Global Gender Summit, a biennial event organized by the multilateral development banks (MDBs), bringing together leaders from government, development institutions, private sector, civil society, and academia.

The Summit is taking place in Kigali Rwanda from 25th to November 27th.

“There is good momentum for women and African women, but the work has just started…‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver, but we can deliver differently,” President Zewde said.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who officially opened the Summit, described gender equality as “real commonsense.”  Rwanda leads the word in gender representation in parliament with 61% of its parliamentarians being women — the highest in the world. In addition, half of all ministerial positions are held by women, just like in Ethiopia.

“We got it from the beginning that there is a lot of work to do…made investments to ensure that women are at the center of development. We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Kagame said.

Echoing their sentiments, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said the African Union’s Agenda 2063 was deliberate about gender parity.

“What we are telling our heads of states is to take the bull by the horns…This discrimination is political, economic, and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially…not to take (gender) into account is a real waste.”

In Africa, 70% of women are excluded financially. The continent has a $42 billion financing gap between men and women. And women, who are the majority of farmers, face a financing gap of close to $16 billion.

“The challenges are not just about gender. They are about under-representation and lack of empowerment of women,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said.

“A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart, and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ he added.

The African Development Bank is doing its part to transform the financing landscape for women with the launch of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA). AFAWA aims to mobilize $3 billion of new lending by banks and financial institutions for women in Africa. G7 leaders approved a package totaling $251 million in support of AFAWA during the summit in August.

Welcoming the conference participants, Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Soline Nyirahabimana, said the Kigali Conference center was set to glow orange in honor of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The 16 days kick off on November 25th, each year, which marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and runs until December 10th.

The 2019 Global Gender Summit is attended by the first ladies of Rwanda and Kenya as well as representatives of the heads of state of Gabon, Mali, Senegal, Chad and the King of Morocco. Also in attendance are ministers of genders from Niger, Somalia, Senegal, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya.

The Summit runs from 25th to 27th of November under the theme: ‘Unpacking constraints to gender equality.’

‘The African Development Bank believes in women. Women are bankable,” Adesina said.

*AFDB

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First ladies panel seeks urgent policies to translate Africa’s demographic dividend into viable potential
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

– “What a man can do, a woman can do just as well,” Jeannette Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda

“History will judge us if we don’t work together to take action now,” Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu

“Investments in gender equality are critical to realizing demographic dividend, but we need to ensure that women have the tools to overcome the barriers they face,” First Lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame told participants at a panel at the Global Gender Summit in Kigali on Monday.

The panel, made up of First Ladies Kagame, Margaret Kenyatta, ministers and development experts, observed that too many women and girls still face barriers to basic rights, particularly access to labour market opportunities.

Rwanda’s First Lady recalled the role women played following the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, where a number of families were wiped out, with women in many cases being the ones catering for families.

“What a man can do, a woman can do just as well,” she added.

She described the Summit as an important platform to highlight issues of women equality.

Rwanda has implemented gender several inclusive programs, which has enhanced economic equality in a country where women political participation has grown to 61% percent.

First Lady Kenyatta called for the removal of institutional barriers to accelerate women’s economic empowerment, “It has become urgent for Africa to translate its demographic dividend into viable potential.”

“This is the spirit of Africa’s vision to accelerate its path to sustainable socio-economic development. Our collective commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ is a new chapter in our struggle towards achieving gender equality.”

The panel heard that impediments to gender equality include lack of access to credit, low representation in decision making positions, lack of control over productive land and lack of financial control to make spending decisions on education and health.

Minister of Solidarity, Social Development, Equality and Family Jamila El Moussali of Morocco,

shared experiences from Morocco where policies have been introduced to increase women’s political and economic participation.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, called on stakeholders to come together to leverage each other’s strengths “translate women dreams into reality. History will judge us if we don’t work together to take action now.”

The African Development Bank and the government of Rwanda are hosting the Global Gender Summit from 25 to 27 November in Kigali. The Summit is being organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender for the first time in Africa.

*AFDB

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Gender equality: It’s time for disruption, time to shatter the status quo, we can’t afford to wait!
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments
Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society
Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society

Women make up over 40% of African business owners yet only 2% are able to access finance according to a Mckinsey report
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 22, 2019/ — By Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society

If you are a gender champion, then you are familiar with the discussions around the glass cliff.  The story of women eager to defy the odds, accepting leadership roles at times of crisis, when the chance of failure is the highest. The truth is that many bold glass cliff climbers have succeeded without falling off.

Two of such champions come to my mind: the former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcah and Tokunboh Ishmael, co-founder of Aliethiea IDF.

Mulcah, Ishmael and likeminded agents of change have already shattered the status quo. So, when the first Global Gender Summit held in Africa kicks off on November 25th in Kigali, Rwanda, the international community will hurtle towards heeding the calls to dismantle barriers to women’s full participation and advancement economic development on the continent.

Women make up over 40% of African business owners yet only 2% are able to access finance according to a Mckinsey report. One in four women globally who start in a business come from Africa (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor).

The Summit, organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender, will be held in Africa for the first time ever, from the 25th to 27th November 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. This year’s summit is hosted by the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and supported by other multilateral development banks as key partners.

Under the theme “Unpacking constraints to gender equality,” the Global Gender Summit will share best practices and seek innovative solutions that can be harnessed to empower women and girls in Africa and around the world.

We are excited to be bringing the world to Rwanda, a country that has set a strong example when it comes to promoting women’s rights and representation.

Rwanda was the first country in the world with a female majority in parliament, currently at 67.5 %, following October parliamentary polls. Out of a total parliamentary membership of 80, women occupy 54 seats. This feat puts the nation ahead of even the most developed nations.

From the massive financing gap for women-led enterprises, inadequate data, laws and cultural norms that negatively affect women, to a lack of representation in business and politics, the challenges are great.

But the opportunities are there too.

Discussions will focus on the main barriers to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment, namely: scaling up innovative financing, fostering an enabling environment and ensuring women’s participation and voices. Sectors to be addressed will include climate change, the digital revolution, private sector and human capital and productive employment.

In Africa, women-led enterprises face a whopping $42 billion financing gap. One of the Bank’s flagship gender-focused projects is its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), which seeks to accelerate growth and employment creation across African economies, by closing the financing gap for women.

Over the next 5 years, AFAWA is expected to unlock $3 billion in private sector financing to empower female entrepreneurs through capacity-building development, access to finance as well as policy, legal and regulatory reforms to support enterprises led by women.

Our Fashionomics Africa initiative supports the African textiles and fashion industries by building the capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises in the textile and clothing sector, especially those run by women and youth. By using technology as a driver for the development of skills and capacity in Africa’s creative industries, the African Development Bank aims to stimulate job creation on the continent. At the summit, we will unveil an innovative online marketplace for designers across the continent.

That’s just some of the exciting news. We will use the opportunity of the Global Gender Summit to launch a number of initiatives to dramatically transform the landscape of access to finance for women across the continent.

These include the Africa Gender Index- a joint African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) report that assesses African countries on gender equality.


The launch of the AFAWA/AGF Risk Sharing Facility, which will de-risk lending to women through AGF’s partial, guarantees to financial institutions and its capacity development to women entrepreneurs.

As well as these continent-wide initiatives, we at the African Development Bank understand that change begins at home. That is why in 2018, the Bank rolled out its gender marker system to process, monitor, and promote gender mainstreaming in all its operations, with gender specialists as part of project teams and Bank operations.

By the end of last year, 40% of public sector Bank operations had been organised under the gender marker system, a major shift in the Bank’s way of doing business and commitment to gender mainstreaming.

We continue to support and build the individual power of girls and women across the countries we work in and never has the time been more urgent.

We expect the Global Gender Summit, to be a milestone event in the empowerment of women in Africa and beyond.  See you there.
* This year’s Global Gender Summit, is hosted by the African Development Bank in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and supported by other multilateral development banks as key partners.

*AFDB
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Global Gender Summit 2019: African leaders take on the responsibility to urgently close the gender gap
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver but we can deliver differently” – President Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia

‘We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Paul Kagame of Rwanda

“This discrimination is political, economic and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially.’ – Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat

‘ A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank Group

The 2019 Global Gender Summit, the first to be held on the continent, kicked off on Monday with a strong call to surge ahead on gender issues and move from commitment to action.

Africa’s only female President, Sahle-Work Zewde  of Ethiopia, said Ethiopia’s parliament is one of the only two on the continent with over 50% gender parity in seats, and women currently hold key ministerial roles in defense and national security for the first time. Despite her own country’s huge advances, however, the work has just started, she said.

Zewde was speaking during the opening plenary of the Global Gender Summit, a biennial event organized by the multilateral development banks (MDBs), bringing together leaders from government, development institutions, private sector, civil society, and academia.

The Summit is taking place in Kigali Rwanda from 25th to November 27th.

“There is good momentum for women and African women, but the work has just started…‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver, but we can deliver differently,” President Zewde said.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who officially opened the Summit, described gender equality as “real commonsense.”  Rwanda leads the word in gender representation in parliament with 61% of its parliamentarians being women — the highest in the world. In addition, half of all ministerial positions are held by women, just like in Ethiopia.

“We got it from the beginning that there is a lot of work to do…made investments to ensure that women are at the center of development. We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Kagame said.

Echoing their sentiments, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said the African Union’s Agenda 2063 was deliberate about gender parity.

“What we are telling our heads of states is to take the bull by the horns…This discrimination is political, economic, and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially…not to take (gender) into account is a real waste.”

In Africa, 70% of women are excluded financially. The continent has a $42 billion financing gap between men and women. And women, who are the majority of farmers, face a financing gap of close to $16 billion.

“The challenges are not just about gender. They are about under-representation and lack of empowerment of women,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said.

“A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart, and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ he added.

The African Development Bank is doing its part to transform the financing landscape for women with the launch of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA). AFAWA aims to mobilize $3 billion of new lending by banks and financial institutions for women in Africa. G7 leaders approved a package totaling $251 million in support of AFAWA during the summit in August.

Welcoming the conference participants, Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Soline Nyirahabimana, said the Kigali Conference center was set to glow orange in honor of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The 16 days kick off on November 25th, each year, which marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and runs until December 10th.

The 2019 Global Gender Summit is attended by the first ladies of Rwanda and Kenya as well as representatives of the heads of state of Gabon, Mali, Senegal, Chad and the King of Morocco. Also in attendance are ministers of genders from Niger, Somalia, Senegal, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya.

The Summit runs from 25th to 27th of November under the theme: ‘Unpacking constraints to gender equality.’

‘The African Development Bank believes in women. Women are bankable,” Adesina said.

*AFDB

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Legislative/Municipal Elections in Cameroon: Women Target 30% Representation in Parliament & Councils
November 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

-Female candidates for the 2020 Legislative and Municipal Elections have said they want a 30% representation at the helm of city councils

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

As the elections slated for 9 February 2020 draw closer, the Non-governmental organization “More Women in Politics” is showing these female candidates how to achieve this goal. During the workshop that’s aimed at equipping women to present competitive candidacies, Dr. Justine Diffo Tchunkam, National Coordinator of More Women in politics says women’s political ambitions must be driven by the 50-50 parity in gender equality in Cameroon by 2030. According to statistics from the NGO, only 27 women are represented at the helm of the county’s 360 councils. To reduce this margin, women say they want more lead roles.

2020 Legislative and Municipal Elections: What women want

Female involvement in the socioeconomic development of a country is increasingly becoming a crucial demand. Women want to be involved in decision-making, management, and governance of the country. Most of them think they can do so by bringing a feminine touch to governance.

One of these women are Manga Salome, a CPDM party candidate from the Nyong and Mfoumou Division. “The woman is the mother of humanity. She is more sensitive to Sociocultural problems than men. Councils need to guarantee the wellbeing of the population, but we have noticed some lapses. That is why, I want to add a maternal touch to the Sociocultural development of our country.”

Etoa Martine, a CPDM candidate and Sub Section President of the Ekie constituency is among the women who want to speed up development. “We want more development. If more women are mayors, MPs and Municipal counselors, life will be better. Women are naturally endowed by God to be better leaders, and we can make the difference.”

But the National Coordinator of More Women in Politics, Dr. Justine Diffo, Tchunkam says the 30% target for female Municipal Counselors in 2020, is only a first step to attain the 50-50 parity in gender equality in Cameroon by 2030.

,The women also say they expect that the national action plan which provides between 25-30% representations of female Candidates on electoral lists will be respected.

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South African women demand Death penalty for rape
November 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Women in South Africa have petitioned the presidency over their dead penalty request. (photo: CNN)
Women in South Africa have petitioned the presidency over their dead penalty request. (photo: CNN)

A petition spearheaded by women in South African which demands the introduction of death penalty for rape perpetuators and other offenses against women is gaining momentum and has garnered more than 600,000 signatures.

This follows the conviction in August this year of Luyanda Botha, who raped and murdered 19-year-old student Uyinene Mrwetyana when she went to pick up a parcel at the Cape Town post office where he worked.

He was handed three life sentences but women in South Africa say its not enough. They are requesting that for taking one’s life, Luyanda Botha and others like him should pay with their lives.

The petition tabled to the office of the president seeks to punish perpetuators so as to deter violence and Crimes against women in South Africa which they say is “an uncontrollable, vicious cycle where women and children are sexually assaulted and murdered with little to no justice for the ones that are left behind to pick up the pieces.” 

The petition which seeks to hit one million signatories so as to advance their demand insist its time to joined forces “to bring back the death sentence for crimes against women and children in the Hopes of saving this great country” 

South Africa rates of femicide –intentional killing of women and girls — is one of the highest globally when compared with other countries where data is available, according to Professor Rachel Jewkes, director of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls global program.

“We have three women killed every day by a husband or a boyfriend in South Africa, and this is much higher than in many countries. It’s much higher than it is in Europe or Australia,” she said.

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Zimbabwe: SAFAIDS Ignites Debate on Universal Health Care
November 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Diana Mailosi
Diana Mailosi

Harare Zimbabwe-SAFAIDS [Southern Africa AIDS Information Dissemination Services] and a Humanitarian consortium of a number of Civil Society Organisations have joined hands to spark interesting discussions on Universal Health Coverage.

Kicking on in Harare, the dialogue attended by a bunch of several organisations at heart with the HIV and AIDS scourge, the symposium dealt on an objective meant to drive the Health System of Zimbabwe. Diana Mailosi the Moderator coming from the Advocacy Core Team pointed out on main objectives rallying on the need to salvage country populations affected by several diseases that need attention of the medical experts, the Government and Civil Society. This she directs a point to reality needs the existence of the importance of the UHC.

Diana points out quickly on another point that life saving strategies and mechanisms must centre on the lives of all People regardless race, colour or creed. She lastly reiterates on the need for Governments to fetch funding abroad and domestically for Health. She elucidates, health funding mechanisms are a vital action towards eradicating poverty related to Health service delivery. Diana touches as well on best practices in terms of fiscal transparency, driving off corrupt activities in Health and avoiding activities like capital flight that could be a detrimental challenge in pushing forward the Health Sector.

 ‘’UHC, this is time to take it seriously so as to save lives of millions in the country who have no access to medicines, health food and ARV’s. It is pathetic in the Health Sector. Doctors neglect duties. Some have left the country. The situation tightens .Saving lives of those affected by scourge of a number of diseases is a concern of our heart. That is why UHC matters most. Population Health is on the edges as a number of people face Health challenges related to what we focus on most that is HIV and AIDS, Cancers and some other ailments affecting communities at high prevalence rates. Primary Health Care must surface to make Community Health work. This is all linked to UHC.’’

‘’The Health Sector is in doldrums. This is everyone‘s responsibility, role of Civil Society to roll on programs and end the mess of Doctors, drugs shortage and improve on Infrastructure. This comes at a time we have a number of thorny challenges in Health. We are not talking about UHC because we have the problem, it has always been our desire to make it heard by all.’’

‘’Our collective push is towards making the political will work in making Health a central concern during these times of hardships. Governments must stick to UHC principles. Secondly the need to stick to International standards and guidelines in sharpening Health Sector must be accompanied by delivery of drugs , information , access to services at all angles and provision of better Infrastructure and medical and health professionals .

‘’Funding, yes is a challenge but once we have a budget we have to track on monitoring and evaluation. This becomes vital since we will be in a position to stamp out corrupt activities in the whole set-up. Corruption might not be the issue but it creates wave of transparency and accountability. UHC will bring us to the standards and principles and as well helps in the provision of adequate Health services of best practice’’.

Lloyd Dumbure of SAFAIDS adds that Community engagement brings the whole system to accountability and transparency. Community engagement, he says makes communities get sensitised and brings awareness and advocacy on issues related to the importance of Health to them.

‘’SAFAIDS is ready to make Communities get geared towards participation and engagement in a proper way of total community inclusivity. The need for organisations to come together for this cause creates room for tolerance towards proper management of Health systems’’.

 Donald Tobaiwa of Jointed Hands puts a straight point that Political will in every country makes the idea of UHC work without any challenge from the grass-roots. Many Governments lack commitments to political will in line with Health because of the bigger budgets it needs. This Donald attributes to failure of the Health delivery in any country.

‘’Political will is critical as we dwell on Governance and Politics to manage the whole side of the story. Health hinges more on funding sources from outside. Less is from our country in terms of Health taxes extracted from the sale of some commodities. It is all about how we manage our finance, direct it accountably towards Health. This is done by the Government, .Thus why we say political will. Policies as well come in through the Government effort.

‘’Secondly, Democratic Political Accountability makes UHC see reality by the end of the day. Once there are correct measures in the system we win on Goals of Health. There are vital and core additional at the top after preventive and curative medicine, proper infrastructure, health professionals and the lining up and implementation of Health policies.

‘’Thirdly, It is our link to efficiency and efficacy and the access to medicines to serve the country. The whole system is driven by political will that must link UHT. This should be a priority as enunciated in the Abuja Declaration’’.

Other presenters touched on other areas of concern to make UHC a reality. These are areas of Gays HIV and AIDS, Intravenous Drug Users, young people and drug abuse. The status of healthcare delivery in Zimbabwe remains important as the World looks at International Human Rights. One such International protocol is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights .Secondly, addressing Criminalisation of Key-Populations, focus on key populations and commercial sex workers sparked a row debate until to the end.

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WiLDAF Commends Akufo Addo for nominating three female justices to Ghana’s High court.
November 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

President Akufo  Addo
President Akufo Addo

Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF Ghana) has commended the President of the republic of Ghana Nana Akuffo Addo for replacing the three retiring female Justices due for retirement with another set of female Justices at the Ghana’s high court. A move WiLDAF’s says is worth pointing out but maintained Government must make conscious efforts to have deserving women occupy their positions to build Ghana.

The commendation comes at the back of the president’s nomination of the three, Ladyships Justices Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson and Gertrude Tokornoo onto the highest Court of the land.

Speaking to the Communications and Advocacy Officer for WiLDAF Ghana, Abigail Edem Hunu she called on the justices to use their position to advance access to justice for abused women and girls and the less privileged out there who have lost their voice due to societal pressure.

‘’It is our hope the Justices will use their new position to advance access to justice for women and girls, and when they are approved by Parliament, will continue to serve as positive role models to women and girls across the country’’.

WiLDAF Ghana she added is also using the opportunity to appeal to the government of Ghana to speed up the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into Law. 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  passed and implemented to create an environment which is gender inclusive and gender responsive.

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Commonwealth young champion named among TIME Magazine 100 leaders of tomorrow
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Time magazine has named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi among its 100 world rising stars who are shaping the future.

Nigerian women’s rights activist Osowobi is one of 53 women on a list of 100 names Time has dubbed “the world’s most ascendant leaders” who are “rising stars in their fields”.

In March, she won the title of Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2019 after helping thousands of sexual and domestic abuse victims in Nigeria.

Osowobi, who is a survivor of sexual violence, set up the Stand to End Rape initiative to provide support to women, men and young people who have experienced any form of gender-based abuse.

Speaking with the Commonwealth, she said this recognition reinforces her belief in young people’s potential to create change.

She continued: “As young people, our relationship must surpass government collaboration on financial relations, rather, we must collectively protect the human rights of those within our community, especially vulnerable women and girls, persons with disabilities and LGBTQI people across the Commonwealth.”

Founded in 2014, her initiative works to advance women’s sexual reproductive health rights, advocate against gender-based violence and provide medical, legal and psychological support to survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

Advising the survivors of gender-based violence, Osowobi said: “Don’t stay silent. There is no judgement or condemnation as nobody owns the rights to your story or healing.

“My advice to you is first to stop blaming yourself and seek mental, legal and health support.”

Layne Robinson, the Commonwealth’s Head of Social Policy Development, said: “The Commonwealth Youth Awards, particularly the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year, shines a spotlight on the unsung efforts of our young people who have made a major impact in transforming our communities.

“We are happy our Commonwealth Person of the Year, Osowobi, is being recognised for her outstanding work beyond the Commonwealth.”

Time magazine unveiled its first annual collection of the next generation of world’s 100 young leaders today in New York City.

Every year, the Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work recognise the exceptional contribution of young people from across the Commonwealth’s member countries who are leading initiatives to help deliver sustainable development goals.

*Commonwealth

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Cameroon:At Nkafu event Entrepreneurs urged to understand their environment, know the needs of their clients
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Participants were trained on three key moduls- Business Management, Tax registration and declaration procedures and Access to finance
Participants were trained on three key moduls- Business Management, Tax registration and declaration procedures and Access to finance

(Yaounde, Cameroon) Entrepreneurs have been encouraged to understand the environment they operate in and to equally know the needs of their clients in order to foster the growth of their business. Shouame Cyrille Researcher, Vice President of SOS Espoir et Émergence was speaking at the Mansel Hotel in Yaounde November 12, 2019 at the Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills training organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute.

To him, every entrepreneur is a client because they need the services of others in their work and they should not provide the kind of services that they will not accept from others.

Speaking on the Business Management, He said that, as small business owner, entrepreneurs need to understand the economic situation of their country.

To economic analysts, knowing the economic situation will make it easy for an entrepreneur to survive in a particular business as the purchasing power of customers is very important. Equally, the political instability of a country makes it very difficult for a particular business to operate.

Shouame Cyrille added that entrepreneurs need to understand their finances well, and understand where most of their income goes so as to better plan while educating the various participants on the different opportunities offered by the Ministry of Small and Medium Size Enterprises to small business owners in Cameroon.

In her introductory words, the Program Manager Agathe Djomeghu indicated that the mission of the SBEC is to provide entrepreneurs with organizational skills, and today’s session is part of a long series of six training sessions.

Ngueteu Nganga, Founder of MARON & Associates SARL and Accountant edified participants on tax requirements, registration and declaration procedures, while equally advancing some importance of moving from the informal to a formal sector.

Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills training is part of a long series of six training sessions
Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills training is part of a long series of six training sessions

Ngueteu Nganga added that “Cameroon is under the OHADA accounting system and practices accrual accounting. Small Businesses should be able to calculate and declare their turnovers themselves”, while adding that “this should not be done by the tax collectors, as explained by Foretia foundation”

According to an accountant, Taxes should not be the reason why entrepreneurs fail. Tax is an end product, it is on entrepreneur’s profit and not capital. Cameroon has one of the best tax systems as it is a declarative system – it is the entrepreneur who declares what he has earned for the month, calculates and pays. But the issue is that people do not even know how to calculate as some cheat the system.  

Access to finance is a key factor to the growth of SMEs but notwithstanding, because of the difficulties faced by financial institutions in obtaining information on the borrowers-solvency, lack of reliable financial statement of SMEs, absence of guarantee or inadequate collateral and lack of detailed business plan, they (financial institutions) become reluctant to award loans to these SMEs.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Small and Medium Size Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts, there are more than 400,000 companies in the informal sector and out of these, 99 per cent are SMEs. In an economy, firms can obtain funds from the stock exchange or indirectly from financial intermediaries like banks, microfinance institutions and other non-financial institutions. A 2009 IMF study indicated that heavy taxes and 15 per cent interest ceiling on loans to SMEs also discourage these institutions from financing the sector.

The Small Business Training under the theme, “Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills” falls within the framework of the prime purpose of the Small Business and Entrepreneur Centre (SBEC) – to spur economic growth in Cameroon through the provision of tools to establish, expand and sustain private sector business in partnership with Global Affairs Canada.

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