The African Union (AU) opened its annual summit in South Africa on Sunday with focus on issues concerning women empowerment and the continent’s long-term development.
This year’s summit is being held under banner Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.
Addressing delegates at a meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), PRC chairperson Albert Ranganai Chimbindi described the theme as pertinent and opportune.
“We must remember that women constitute more than half of the African Union population, and that they make up 75 percent of our agricultural workforce,” Xinhua quoted Chimbindi as saying.
Chimbindi added that the time has come for Africa to recognise women as equal to men, emphasising that this will result in the highest development of race and economy.
Chimbindi, who is also the Zimbabwean ambassador to Ethiopia, challenged African countries to implement the many decisions already taken by the continent to attain gender equality.
“The AU gender architect that must be implemented include the protocol to African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Solem Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, the Fund for African Women and the African Women’s Decade,” Chimbindi said.
On his part deputy chairperson of AU Erusts Mwencha said, “If we empower our women, we shall have empowered the continent by 50 percent,”
Mwencha said the union had drawn up a 10-year plan to develop the continent over the next two decades, with infrastructure and information and communications technology at the fore.
The Kenyan diplomat added that the union aspired to end conflict on the continent by 2020, issue an African passport and reverse the illicit flow of capital from the continent.
“We also want to enhance Africa’s voice in global negotiations,” he said.