Members of the ISC Left to Right: Ms. Upendo Pendeza (TAN), Ms. Celestine Ketcha Courtes (CAM), Ambassador Liberata Mulamula (TAN), Ms. Unami Jeremiah (BOT), Dr. Joannie Bewa (BEN), Ms.Marie Louise Musangu MWANGE (DRC), Ms. Nabila Fredji (MOR), Ms. Nyaradzai Gumbozvanda (ZIM) – Photo: UN Women/Helen Yosef Hailu
The Interim Steering Committee of African Women Leaders Network Meets in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa, 19 December 2017: The Interim Steering Committee (ISC) of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) met in Addis Ababa, for the first time to strategize on a number of issues including, the organisational and operational structures for the Network; establishment of the Africa Women’s Fund, branding and communications for the Network and indeed planning for the next Addis Ababa Africa Women Leaders Forum scheduled to take place during the first quarter of 2018.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Bineta Diop, AUC Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security reiterated on the two guiding agendas for the Network namely; the AU Agenda 2063 and the UN Agenda 2030, that put women at the center of sustainable development and a prosperous and peaceful Africa. She urged the members of the ISC to take up this momentous responsibility to move the network forward and reminded the members that they have a huge responsibility to ensure women do not only drive peace, development, but also benefit equally from Africa’s transformative agenda. “When you give a chance to African women, they seize it and run with it. We take it as serious business”, she reiterated. She further congratulated members from DRC and Cameroon for launching the national chapters of the Network, and the Delegation of Ghana, together with Germany to the UN for launching the Group of Friends of the Network in New York.
UN Women Representative to Ethiopia, the AU and UNECA, Ms. Letty Chiwara recognized the commitment of the committee members in accepting the invitation. She added, “The ISC is at the center of making this exciting initiative become a reality and confirm that African women are ready to rally behind an agenda and make it happen.” She also reported on the work of the Interim Coordinating Committee since the June 2017 New York Forum to ensure that the network moves forward. Also on the occasion Ambassador Matthias Schauer, Deputy Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ethiopia reaffirmed his country’s commitment to continue its support to ensure the African Women Leaders Network becomes fully functional and galvanizes African women’s contribution to making a difference with Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the UN Agenda 2030. Quoting the IMF Managing Director, Mme Christine Lagarde on her recent visit to Ethiopia, shared the disturbing data that Africa loses 90 billion USD per annum by excluding women from economic activities.
The meeting comprised of eight members of the committee, including young women leaders from the five continental regions of Africa. The members deliberated on preparations for on the second “Women Leaders Forum for Africa’s Transformation”, which aims to formally establish the Network on the African continent. They further discussed the; the governance structure; funding and resource mobilization; thematic areas and key actions as for the Network’s work plan for 2018 -2020.
The committee decided to hold periodic virtual meetings to expedite preparations and follow up on the developments. In her closing remarks, Ms. Marie Louise Musangu Mwange of DRC, reaffirmed the committee’s commitment saying, ‘‘We are capable of moving mountains.”