President Paul Kagame has said that women can contribute more to society when enjoying their full rights.
“Women can deliver more when they are enjoying their full rights. But with men and women working together using their talents to the maximum the effect is not just additive, it multiplies. All of society benefits. The sum is indeed much greater than the parts,” he said.
Kagame was speaking in Nouakchott, Mauritania as co-host of the “Women in Power” high-level meeting alongside European Union Commissioner Neven Mimica.
The meeting was on the sidelines of the 33rd ordinary session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) set to begin on Sunday.
President Kagame will be chairing the AU summit as the current chairperson.
He said that despite the goodwill by countries across the world to improve on the aspect, there are persistent challenges holding back women.
“Despite the goodwill, substantial problems remain in the way of women’s whether cultural, legal and economic empowerment. There are important policy changes to advocate for and that will always be important and must continue to be a priority as will be discussed today,”
Other challenges in improving status quo, he noted include negative mindsets and norms about gender roles which slow down progress.
He however noted progress by the African continent on the realization of the importance of equality as outlined in the African Union’s agenda and goals.
“On our continent we adopted the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa in 2004. That framework continues to guide our work. Equality between men and women in all spheres of life is also the vision defined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063,” he noted.
He also welcomed the collaboration and prioritization of gender equality by both the African Union and the European Union.
“Gender equality is always on the agenda. It is a top priority for both the African Union and the European Union. Women’s empowerment happens to have been the theme of the European Development Days this year… Africa and Europe are fully aligned on this issue. We have achieved a lot together but there is also much more we need to do in the future,” President Kagame who is also the AU chairperson said.
He pledged the availability and contribution of leaders in advancing the course going forward.
President Kagame also met the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat ahead of the 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union which opens on Sunday.
Later in the day, the President attended the African Union Adhoc Committee on South Sudan at Heads of State level chaired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
He also attended the State Dinner in honour of the visiting heads of State was hosted by Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
This year’s Summit is running under the theme ‘Combating Corruption: A sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation’.
Meanwhile, the Executive Council of the AU has approved Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo’s candidacy to the position of Secretary General of International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF).
Executive Council is composed of ministers of foreign affairs of the African Union or other ministers duly accredited by their governments of the member states.