The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has launched an initiative dubbed: ‘Gender and Development Initiative for Africa’ (GADIA) to promote gender equality on the continent.
Through its programme of activities, the initiative is aimed at delivering positive socio-economic impact on the lives and livelihoods of African women.
The initiative, which is under the Office of the President and the African Union (AU), is on the theme: “African women as leaders in business and politics.”
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The President has been appointed the AU leader for Gender and Development by the Chairperson of the AU, Mr Alpha Conde, to help implement its Agenda 2063 which is a comprehensive 50-year plan to accelerate socio-economic transformation on the continent.
The AU also named the President as the ‘African Union’s Gender and Development Champion’ for his work in promoting gender parity and the socio-economic development of women and girls in Africa.
The GADIA has, therefore,been launched to serve as the flagship programme under the President’s AU Gender and Development Champion project.
It is structured around the pillars of developing women’s economic empowerment through the private sector and also to increase women’s political participation on the continent.
Launch of GADIA
The President in his address said: “Having African women as leaders in business and politics is a must if we are to shed off the evils of poverty, ignorance and disease and put our continent on the path of sustainable progress and prosperity.”
He said since 1974, which was declared as International Women’s Year, there had been other deliberate programmes and policies to bridge the gap on gender inequality, including the 1995 Beijing Conference.
He was of the view that one of the effective instruments in women’s advancement on the African continent was through the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the AU 2063 agenda.
As AU Gender Champion, the President said he would mobilise political support to help transform Africa into an exemplary continent where sound policies and solid programmes would by the end of the day have successfully elevated the existence of the situation of women.
The President of Liberia, Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was the guest of honour, commended President Akufo-Addo for his bold initiative for the continent.
She said Ghana had come a long way in its promotion of women empowerment and further applauded the President for appointing women into his government.
She said across the world and in Africa there had been great women at all levels who all stood out but added that “we have still not reached the numbers. We have not gotten enough numbers to reach the levels that we can say we have gender parity.”
She however, commended the few who had been able to get to where they were through courage, determination, discipline and self-confidence.
Women in business
The Minister of Business Development, Alhaji Ibrahim Awal, in an address, indicated that his ministry was committed to ensuring that more women got into businesses and thrived.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Djaba Afisah, said Ghana 60 years on could achieve greatness through gender equality.
The United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA’s) Regional Director, Mr Mabingue Ngom, called for the scaling up of initiatives that would ensure the process of women empowerment in the country and the continent as a whole.
The Presidential Advisor on Gender and Development, Mrs Angela Asante-Essah, in a welcome address, said some of the key activities which would be implemented by the initiative would include the African Women’s Business Summit (AWBS), the Women in Political Service Initiative (WIPSI), the Africa Business Women’s Index (ABWI) and the African Women’s Centre for Business Excellence.