BISMARCK JOHNSON STREET
SIERRA LEONE, WEST AFRICA
MOTTO:Solidarity For Empowerment,Equality and Development
WOMEN’S FORUM SIERRA LEONE
4TH AFRICAN UNION HIGH LEVEL PANEL ON GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT 29TH -30TH JUNE 2017
VENUE: AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
THEME: HARNESSING THE DEMOGRAPHIC DIVIDENDS THROUGH INVESTMENT IN YOUTH: EMPOWERING YOUNG WOMEN AND GIRLS
MRS. MAUDE REGINA PEACOCK
PRESIDENT, WOMEN’S FORUM
4TH AFRICAN UNION HIGH LEVEL PANEL ON GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT
VENUE: African Union Commission Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
DATE: 29th - 30th June 2017
THEME: Harnessing the Demographic Dividends through Investment in Youth: Empowering Young Women and Girls
ORGANISERS: The AU Commission’s Women and Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD) in collaboration with the Human Resource Science and Technology (HRST) the Department of Social Affairs (DSA), the office of the Special Envoy on Women Peace and Security in partnership with United Nation Civil Organisation.
PARTICIPANTS: Ministers of Gender, Gender Focal Points, Gender Experts, Gender Focal Points Leaders of Women’s Umbrella Organisations valued advocates of the 55 AU States.
DELEGATES FROM SIERRA LEONE: Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs and Mrs. Maude Peacock, President Women’s Forum Sierra Leone.
To define concrete actions to improve women and girls to scale up AUC implemented policy priorities and decisions in the four pillars of the AU Demographic Dividends Agenda that will translate into more tangible investments in young women and girls to harness the Demographic Dividends in Africa.
The Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Consultation was declared opened by the Gender Minister of Ethiopia, who made it quite clear that the potential for the transformation of Africa lies in the hands of Women and Girls of Africa.
The Director of the WGDD in her welcome and opening statement asked the following question “Why do we choose to go to the moon’.
The Demographic Dividend can be defined as the benefit that can arise when a country has a fairly large proportion of working age population. It is an attempt to effectively implement the African Union Assembly’s framework of January 2016. Investment today in the youth, who represent African’s greatest asset will determine the development and socio-economic transformation of the Africa we want.
The theme should be examined as envisioned in Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 the Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Demographic Dividend Road Map was examined through erudite presentation by specialists panelists consultants on the specified pillar followed by discussions from the audience on the following up and actions to be taken.
The four key pillars are
1. Employment and Entrepreneurship
2. Education and Digital Skills Development
3. Health and Well being
4. Rights Governance and Youth Empowerment
PILLAR ONE: EMPLOYMENT AND ENTERPRENEURSHIP
A policy specialist presented a paper on this main point:-
Youth constitute 60% of the African unemployed.
Young women face challenges lack of information
Lack of ICT skills
Lack business networks e.g. transportation.
Considering agriculture employs 60% of the labour force in Africa and accounts for 25% of the continents GDP, agriculture to be prioritized to help absorb most of the unemployed youth.
Improve access to credit facilities.
PILLAR TWO: EDUCATION AND DIGITAL SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
This pillar is critical to the continents efforts towards Harnessing the Demographic Dividend. One of the most important areas for strategic investments.
Challenges these include:
Review of curriculum of Educational Institution to increase quality and relevance.
Expand Vocational Training Institution for skills acquisition for young people.
PILLAR THREE: HEALTH AND WELL- BEING
Africa the youngest continent with one fifth of its population constitutes young people.
KEY ACTIONS POINTS
PILLAR 4: RIGHTS GOVERNANCE AND YOUTH EMPOWERMENT
This pillar linked to all the pillars. Harnessing the demographic dividend on the continent requires investments in ensuring participatory representative and inclusive political processes as well as responsive state institutions.
Before the Key action points were adopted, our dynamic Minister made it quite clear that the stance aid strategic for FGM in Sierra Leone is “Protect the Girls and Respect the Women”, that we believe will gradually lead to an end of FGM in Sierra Leone.
The Special Envoy of the AU Commission on Peace and Security related to GEWE said “I will die fighting for GEWE”.
The Director of the Women Gender Development Directorate, Mrs. Mahawal Wheeler Kaba, (WGDD) indicated that Africa has lot of innovative ideas, energy, capacity and resources to Harness the Demographic Dividend. “It is not the solutions we lack but the actions”. She ended by saying that “we have what we believe to make Africa great”.
The Chairperson of the Au Commission H.E Mr. Faki Maissa Mahamat, reiterated that Agenda 2063 gives place to women and youth and that emancipating the women is a necessity not a priviledge, because to enter paradise “you must respect your mother – without women one cannot do anything in life”.
This demonstrated his determination as AU Commission Chairman to Champion GEWE te go.
Agenda 2063 is rooted IN Pan Africanism and Africa Renaissance, provides a robust framework for addressing past injustices and the realization of the 21st Century as African Century.
“An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and resources representing a dynamic force in the international arena”.
ROAD MAP/FRAMEWORK FOR THE AFRICA WE WANT
7 Percival Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Phone:+232-78-738-170 / +232-76-604-989