1 July 2019: Representatives of Member States of the African Union , Development Partners, UN Agencies, religious traditional and community leaders, Civil society organizations and NGOs involved in the field of youth are all taking part in the Pre - Summit event on “Advancing Girl’s and Women’s Empowerment” in Niamey, Niger.
The meeting was officially opened by the Governor of the Niamey Region in which he emphasized that it is important that the Republic of Niger to put women and girls’ empowerment as priority as part of the country’s development by accelerating gender equality, protecting the rights of girls and women and protecting their rights.
During the opening session, remarks were made by the GIMAC representative- Dr Ajahi, Save the Children Country Director Niger- Ms. Rasha Muhrez and UNICEF Head of AU and UNECA Liaison Office- Dr. Edward Addai where he stated that:
“Quality men are not afraid of equality with women”. Further adding that empowerment is a means to an end and an end in itself in order to achieve AU Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals; harmful practices such as child marriage are detrimental to a country’s development and it is important that countries enhance access to quality education, employment, dignity and well-being of girls so that they can make a meaningful contribution to the continent’s development.
Opening remarks were also delivered by Mrs. Cisse Mariama Mohamed, Director of Social Affairs where she stipulated that “Girls and women today continue to face social injustices and we cannot turn our backs or forget one of the most vulnerable sectors of our societies which is refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons as AU’s theme for 2019”.
She continued to say that “More needs to be done to ensure the equal opportunities and access to social protection are granted to girls and women who forced into this precarious situation, they need our help the most”.
The Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection of the Republic of Niger Hon. Elback Zeinabou stressed in her opening speech to, “set up a continental platform to discuss women and girls issues”. She proceeded to officially open the meeting.
The Pre - Summit will deliberate over a two day period from 1 - 2 July and is expected to have interactive discussions on how to improve the livelihoods of women and girls and to reflect on ways to ensure an effective and timely implementation of the legal frameworks, policies and strategic plans at national, regional and international levels in order to accelerate women and girls empowerment which fits with the Aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063.
The Pre - Summit is expected to adopt an ‘Outcome document’ with key actions towards an accelerated empowerment of women and girls.