South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa is set to assume the position of African Union (AU) Chairperson this week at the AU’s 33rd Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Chairperson of the African Union is selected by the Assembly following consultations by the Member States. The office of the Chair of the African Union is held for a period of one year by a Head of State or Government.
Ramaphosa, who will take over from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has outlined the promotion of the economic empowerment of women across Africa as one of his top agenda.
“We plan to use this great responsibility, among other things, to promote the economic empowerment of the women of Africa,” said President Ramaphosa.
He further said that his vision would be to ensure that women benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“There has never been a better time to do so. With the African Continental Free Trade Area coming into operation this year, we have an opportunity to ensure that women and women-owned businesses are able to meaningfully benefit from what will be the largest common market for goods and services.”
His remarks came against the backdrop of the launch of the Pan African Business Women’s Association (PABWA) on February 1, 2020.
The Chairperson of PABWA, Pinky Kekana, who triples up as the Secretary-General of the Pan African Women’s Organisation, and South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, said the forum’s key agenda was to focus on opportunities for women across Africa.
“PABWA is focusing on maximising the opportunities for women across the continent in respect of their economic emancipation. If women have access to the economy, and make contributions to the economy, the game changes completely,” said Kekana.
She said PABWA is premised on the belief that AU must be called upon to use the opportunity of the AfCFTA, to focus on economic emancipation for not just all Africans, but specifically for the women of Africa to realise a time of economic gender parity,
“The world was based on a value system determined by economies and that there was a need to give women the opportunities to access the economy, and be unapologetic about it.”, she added.
Metropol TV’s General Manager, Terryanne Chebet is one of the Patrons of the Pan African Business Women’s Association.
The newly launched association was created to drive solutions for women on the continent so that economic emancipation agenda would become a reality in the context of the AfCFTA.
The key pillars of the forum include the Secondary Economy (Informal Trade), Technology, Media, Mentorship as well as Research and Insights.