Closing of 8Th African Union Gender Pre-Summit: Kids hand over Key to the Commission to open more opportunities to the youths under Agenda 2063

By African Union Commission (AUC)

The closing of the 8th African Gender Pre-Summit on 2016 African Year of Human Rights, with Particular focus on the Rights of women at the AU headquarters on Wednesday 20 January 2016, was marked by high moments after the adoption of the final communiqué.

The over 400 women worldwide with participation from 45 African countries reiterated their commitment to ensure that the recommendations stipulated in the Addis Ababa Communiqué on women and youths development be fully domesticated and implemented by their respective governments. Two children (a boy and a girl) presented a poem at the closing ceremony, calling on the women leaders and decision makers to honour their promise as they endorse the final communiqué so as to paved the way for the younger generation to find a more prosperous and peaceful Africa, free of wars, hunger, disease, poverty and conflicts. The two kids handed over a symbolic key to the representative of the AUC Chairperson, H.E Dr. Aisha Abdullahi, urging her to transmit the message of the youths to H.E Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, to use the key to unlock all the difficulties and challenges Africa may face, while opening more opportunities for the youths under Agenda 2063. On a different note, two African Women Professors received the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards during the event.

Addressing participants on behalf of the AUC Chairperson, Commissioner Abdullahi, expressed her gratitude to all delegates during the period of the Gender Pre-Summit and said she believes that the communique adopted during this Summit will achieve the main goals of the gender devlopment which is to mobilise women around common continental issues, and to ensure that gender remain high on the AU Agenda.

She congratulated all the Women and Gender Ministers following the successful outcome of their Specialised Technical Committee (STC). “As said in the Opening session, we must ensure that we focus on the mobilization of women from all works of live, to participate in the implementation of Agenda 2063, in its entire dimension.” The Commissioner underlined.

The Commissioner joined all delegates to congratulate the two African Union Kwane Nkrumah Scientific Awards; Laureates for the Regional Awards for Women namely Professor Merzouk Hafida from Algeria representing the North region, and Professor Yalemtsehay Mekonnen, from Ethiopia, representing the Eats Region. She highlighted the importance of Science, Technology and Innovation as valuable opportunities to empower women. Reiterating the overarching continental AU Agenda 2063, this lays emphasis on Science, Technology and Innovation as tools for achieving continental development goals. It further advocates for An Africa where development is people driven, unleashing the potential of its Women and Youth among others. “We must be the change we want to see, Change Agents, transformers and not conformers” the Commissioner concluded. (See Complete speech of the AUC Chairperson delivered by Commissioner Abdullahi on the AU Website: ).

Recognising and congratulating the two laureates of the AU Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards, H.E Martial De Paul Ikounga, Commissioner for Human Resources Science and Technology (HRST) noted that the prestigious Award is a holistic and deliberate measure taken by the AU Commission to maintain science and technology at the top of Africa's development, cooperation and political agenda.

The Commissioner further urged Member States, Regional Economic communities and key stakeholders to promote and support the great participation of African citizens particularly women to be interested in achieving the goals of this award, so as to involve them in Africa's sustainable development. In his closing remarks Commissioner De Paul Ikounga thanked all Regional Economic communities which continue to serve as fundamental pillars for regional development and the EU that have been great partners all through since the launch of the prestigious Nkrumah Scientific Awards.

H.E Amb. Gary Quince Head of Delegation of the European Union to the African Union commended the commitment of the African Union to solemnly support gender equality on the continent. Ambassador. Gary underscored the importance of prioritising science and technology and continuous involvement of women as it is a key pillar for development. Further stressing that the EU is already a great partner of the AU and they will continue to support AU's Africa development agenda while maintaining the existing good cooperation ties.