Women at the centre of SA’s African presidency

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo by REUTERS/Rogan Ward

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo by REUTERS/Rogan Ward

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) SOUTH Africa will make the most of its chairmanship of the African Union (AU) to empower women in the continent.

President Cyril Ramaphosa disclosed the priority ahead of the AU Summit to be held in the continental bloc’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the end of the week.

South Africa will assume chairmanship of the continental organisation for the next year.

“We plan to use this great responsibility, among other things, to promote the economic empowerment of the women of Africa,” Ramaphosa wrote in his weekly letter to the nation.

He said with the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) coming into operation this year, AU had an opportunity to ensure that women and women-owned businesses were able to meaningfully benefit from what is anticipated would be the world’s largest common market for goods and services.

“There has never been a better time to do so,” Ramaphosa said.

South Africa’s chairship of the AU coincides with the end of the African Women’s Decade and the 25th anniversary of the landmark World Conference on Women, where United Nations (UN) member countries adopted the Beijing Platform for Action towards greater equality and opportunity for women.

Ramaphosa said this was an opportunity for African countries to gauge the progress they made to protect the fundamental freedoms of women and children.

“It is also an opportunity to measure just how far we have come and what more needs to be done to broaden the economic participation of women.”

Coincidentally, South Africa assumes the AU leadership at a time women are suffering unprecedented violations from their male counterparts.

– CAJ News

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