It is worthwhile to say a big thank you to all those who have kept faith with us right from the birth of this vision and remain confident of your continued support.
I see your beautiful faces.
The import of the fourth AWC here at the Marriott Hotel, Kigali is not because Rwanda, as you may all know is Africa’s fastest growing economy and one of its promising countries but in the fact that it has surpassed the 35% affirmative action of women participation in government declared in Beijing in 1995.
A big thank you to His Excellency, President Paul Kagame who made this happen.
The significance of this feat clearly demonstrates that increased participation of women in government leds to rapid growth and development of such a country.
The AWC was borne out of the realisation that the Africa women have a lot to contribute towards the growth and development of dear Mother Africa.
The vision of AWC was conceived in 2017 when four African women mooted the idea of having a forum where the African women could gather and deliberate on issues affecting them, share ideas and proffer homegrown solutions to such problems.
This led to the AWC’s inaugural conference in held in March 2018 in New York, during the Commission on the Status of Women conference (CSW) by the United Nations.
We are pleased to say that the Conference has evolved over the years and improved owing to faithful implementation of resolutions reached in previous conferences. As a group, we remain resolute and determined to keep implementing our resolutions even with limited resources at our disposal.
The AWC at Namibia, resolved to have a forum where young girls are empowered with skills to prepare them for leadership positions and be self-reliant. This gave birth to the Voice of the Girls Parliament, which we merged with the Girls Realize Your Potential Project of the Helpline Foundation for the Needy Abuja.
As a result of these, we have young girls today who can stand before leaders confidently and eloquently express themselves, taking positions on issues that affect them.
Other resolutions we have successfully implemented include strengthening of our non-profit revolving loan scheme where clusters of women are given loan facilities to boost their income and improve savings culture.
It may interest you to know that we started, with 50 women, but the number has grown to over 600 today, and still counting.
At the November 2019 conference in Marakesh, Morocco, it was resolved to establish the AWC Leadership Development Centre for Women and Girls.
However, this was delayed due to the lockdown resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and its attendant consequences.
The project has resumed with the acquisition of land and the project design is at an advanced stage. We are optimistic that we will present a progress report at our next conference .
The task ahead is daunting but not insurmountable.
We are inspired by the SDG Goal 17 which is focused on strengthening the means of implementing and revitalising global partnerships for sustainable development.
We believe that in collaboration with other development partners, we will achieve our dreams.
The AWC hopes to partner with NGOs in host country with similar objectives to ensure that African women fully realise their potentials by implementing resolutions that are not only domesticated in Nigeria but also in other willing countries in the continent.
Even as I conclude, the task ahead may not be easy, but time has tested our strength as Women in this continent and elsewhere. Gladly, we have continued to prevail and thrive.
It is on this note I charge all of us to mingle more, learn more, network more and let us cross fertilize ideas on how best to help each other and improve our participating in decision making processes that will lead to building an inclusive and sustainable post COVID-19 economy in Africa.
Finally, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu declared Africa Women Conference Kigali-Rwanda 2021 open .