AU Heads of State Luncheon to popularise the African Women’s Decade themes and fundraising to support the Fund for African Women with Focus on Agriculture and Food Security for 2012

Jul 14, 2012

-Delivered by UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative Eugene Owusu

H.E. Thomas Yayi Boni, Chair of the African Union and President of the Republic of Benin,
H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia,
Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Honored Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
All protocol observed.

On behalf of the UN Development Programme, I am honoured to join you today as we reflect on the role of women in agriculture and food security and fundraise for the Fund for African Women.

The issue of food security and agriculture, is one that has plagued our beloved continent for a long time. But this for us goes beyond
these two themes and really raises the question on the dignity of the African people.

Distinguished Guests,
The empowerment of women should not be a luxury but a fundamental right that underpins Africa’s development transformation and the aspiration of its people.

This year, the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa came up with its first regional Human Development Report and the theme was Towards a Food Secure Future.

As the report highlights, and I’m sure your experience backs this, Africa needs to actively develop a new agenda for social justice. This agenda, we argue, must help empower our rural poor. And this rural poor is largely made up of women.

We must recognize and act upon the fact that our women hold the key to greater food security and human development.

However, this acknowledgement has for far too long been ignored and the transformative power of the African women has remained unleashed.

This argument is not a sentimental one but based on hard facts and backed by years of data and analysis clearly articulating the
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correlation between expanded women’s capacity and ensuring food security in Africa.
Closing, and dare I say eliminating, the gender gap is in the best interests of Africa and I urge all of us to play our role – including putting in place the appropriate legal policies and frameworks. We also strongly encourage contributions to the Fund for African Women.

I wish to use this opportunity to pledge UNDP technical, policy and financial support to this laudable initiative.

Excellencies, I thank you for your attention.

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