As the world commemorates Africa Day – this day should serve as a reflection on the continents commitments to nurture greater unity and solidarity between African countries, and accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of Africa.
This year’s Africa Day celebrations come at a time where most African states across the continent have committed themselves to greater economic integration by adopting the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement. This is a momentous step towards promoting intra-African trade, and fostering economic diversification on the continent.
Whilst PAWO welcomes these momentous steps, it is also worth noting, that although significant progress is being made to disembowel the economic vestiges of colonialism, little progress has been made in implementing agreed AU policies by member states to address gender inequality.
Pinky Kekana said, “Substantial progress has been made toward the advancement of women’s rights and female political participation at both the national and regional levels in many African states. Nonetheless, African women, still endure inconceivable economic, social, and cultural encounters, particularly regarding healthcare and education. Over the last ten years data has revealed that African women also own less than 1% of the African continent’s landmass and women farmers receive only 1% of total credit to agriculture, and have fewer economic rights and lower access to economic opportunities, including land and credit facilities. Women are also vulnerable to preventable diseases, 74.2% of all AIDS deaths in the world with women accounted for 57% in Africa.”
“Accordingly, we call upon the AU and other regional bodies create enforceable mechanisms to achieve Gender Equality as espoused in Agenda 2063.”added Pinky Kekana.
The extent to which the ACFTA succeeds in advancing the unity and development of Africa will and correctly should be judged based on the positive impact in improving the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society – women and children and addresses gender inequality.
The Pan African Women’s Organisations wishes all Africans here at home and in the Diaspora a Happy Africa Day.