Africa needs deliberate policies to provoke women’s empowerment – ASP panel

A four-member panel who kick-started the 2023 Africa Soft Power Summit, organized by Africa Soft Power (ASP), a leading creative and tech industry as well as women’s empowerment organization based in Lagos, Nigeria, has recommended to African leaders and policymakers the need to put in place deliberate policies that will stimulate women’s empowerment on the African continent.

The Africa Soft Power Summit 2023, opened in Kigali, Rwanda at the Kigali Serena Hotel today, Wednesday 24 May 2023. The first panel focused on the topic, “Revolutionizing Systems: Women’s Leadership as the Catalyst for Change,”.

Panel composition

The panel included Ambassador Amina Mohamed, former Minister for Sports, Education & Foreign Affairs of Kenya, Adefunke Adeyemi, Secretary General, The African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), Chike Obianwu, Senior Partner, Templars, and Clare Akamanzi, CEO, Rwanda Development Board. The session was moderated by Michelle Moore, Author & UK’s 50 Most ‘Influential Women in Sports’.

In their deliberations, the panel essentially concluded that it will take deliberate policy initiatives by decision makers at the highest level to get women to contribute their quota to the building of their respective countries.

Rwandan example

Clare Akamanzi, chief executive officer (CEO) of Rwanda Development Board, in her submission, observed that it has taken deliberate policy initiatives of the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, for her country to have achieve gender equality as far as the nation’s cabinet is concerned.

She also noted that Rwanda is the first country in the world to have the proportion of MPs who are women at 61.25%, a statistic which she says is way above the current global average of 26.4%.

“Rwanda has been at the top of the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU’s) monthly ranking of women in national parliament for years” Clare Akamanzi said.

Deliberate policy

Ambassador Amina Mohamed, on her part noted that for change to take place in any country, it starts with policies which are enshrined in law. She indicated that if African countries cannot afford to have their women’s empowerment plans embedded in law, then they do not have a clear vision for same.

“It is really important for any leader who believes in women empowerment, and gender equity, to put in place the policies that will support the vision that they have. If you don’t put it into policy then you don’t have the vision” Ambassador Amina Mohamed said.

She observed further that if Africa countries have a problem developing these policies domestically, all they need to do is to align with already existing international law and protocols.

Ambassador Mohamed, pointed out that some of the international laws and protocols that are in existence are; “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages, Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women”.

Summit Focus Areas

The Africa Soft Power summit started today (May 24), with the inaugural RAW Women’s Leadership Conference, powered by ASP’s non-profit arm African Women on Board (AWB).

On May 25 – 26, the Creative & Innovative Industries Conference (CII) will be held. The CII Conference will examine how the African creative sectors can deliver growth and return on the continent, as well as how these industries can be used to better tell the modern African story on the world stage, changing perspectives, shifting global dialogues, and strengthening relationships with the diaspora community along the way.

The Africa Soft Power Gala & Awards which is aimed at providing a veritable feast of African creative and innovative output in action, in real-time will also be held on 25 May.

The ASP Gala will demonstrate the latest African art, fashion, film, entertainment, media, and tech, bringing the presentations and themes of the wider summit agenda to life before delegates’ very eyes.

“Across five days, three key events, and a range of networking activities, we’ll see the spotlight shone on creative endeavour, and its commercial viability, not only on the continent but around the world,” Nkiru Balonwu, the founder & creative director for Africa Soft Power said.

“During a packed-out week, the creative and digital economies of tomorrow will meet with the financial and business powerhouses of today, together forming clear pathways to future economic success for our women, young people, and the wider global community.

“The introduction of the inaugural RAW Women’s Conference is a particularly welcome addition to this year’s proceedings, and we are confident that more broadly, the often still largely unheard African voice – and those who join us from around the world – can examine new solutions to some of the key public and private sector issues of the day,” she added.

Africa Soft Power Group

The Africa Soft Power Group (ASP) encompasses three organisations dedicated to leveraging Africa’s creative and innovative sectors to generate economic growth on the continent and around the world. These include; Africa Soft Power, African Women on Board (AWB), and ASP Global.

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