Revai Makanje-Aalbaek, UN Women’s Deputy Country Representative presented a key lecture on connecting women’s economic empowerment initiatives to the private sector in Africa. Highlights from her lecture include the following:
2015 is at the centre of Africa’s agenda for development because of the following key milestones: Beijing +20 celebrations, its falls within the AU decade of the African woman, It has been declared the AU’s year of women’s empowerment, African states have to agree and take action on the Sustainable Development Goals and it is the final year for expected fulfilment of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. The following key factors contribute to the success of the Africa Rising narrative: ICTS, natural resources and extractives, human resource capital, especially the youth bulge and its implications for peace or lack of it if not properly harnessed and the new economy in the service industry. Initiatives on women’s economic empowerment should focus on the following questions:
WHAT kind of interventions?
WHICH sectors of the economy?
WHAT kind of women to empower?
HOW to carry out e,powerment processes
WHAT scale to use?
4. The need to anlyse country specific historical and material conditions and the need to define the various classes and levels of women in relation to the intreventions needed for economic empowerment.