Former Malawi President Joyce Banda has urged African leaders to include girls and women in policy making positions for them to participate actively in Africa’s social economic development.
Banda made the remarks in Lagos, Nigeria when she was presenting a keynote address at the 2016 “women’s Power Lunch” where Former Nigeria President General Olesugun Obasanjo was in attendance.
In her speech under the theme “Women in Solidarity: A new Paradigm for inclusion” Banda told the gathering that women across Africa have limited access to means of production such as land, financing, and technologies so they are discriminated against at workplaces and in public life in general.
“Women in Africa are underrepresented in policy making circles and as women leaders, it rests upon us to take a leading role in ensuring formulation of deliberate policies and programmes that benefit women,” Banda emphasized.
The former president also called upon African heads of state, governments, the clergy, civil society, and the media to step up efforts to ensure the protection and development of the girl child in the context of the recently adopted United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“I personally believe that governments and nations must strive to achieve full implementation of SDGs if the war against poverty, inequality, injustice and adverse effects of climate change are to be addressed,” Banda said.
She further said that African countries must formulate policies and programmes that must equip the women and girls with necessary entrepreneurial and management skills that can give them access to marketing and financing.
“I am calling upon women leaders to abolish all harmful cultural practices, beliefs, traditions, customs against girls and women,” she said.
This year’s event was organised by Murtala Muhammed Foundation which is chaired by former Nigerian President Olesugun Obasanjo.