The economic advantages of gender-inclusive societies across the continent are hard to ignore, Ms. Kaba said. Closing the gender gap could help Africa boost its collective GDP by 12% by 2025, she argued, adding that reducing gender inequality in her native Guinea could accelerate per capita GDP growth by 10% by 2035.
Ms. Kaba—who was the first woman to serve as Guinea’s Economy and Finance Minister—described the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on African nations’ economies as “catastrophic.” She also called for more transparency and strategic planning to find solutions to the disruptions to national economies caused by the pandemic. Such solutions, she stressed, must be based on decision-making processes that have women at their center.
Ms. Kaba cited former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former President of Malawi Joyce Banda as role models, saying that they have both demonstrated exceptional leadership in times of crisis. She emphasized the unique ability of women to lead when social, economic, and political problems arise:
“When there is a crisis, the first victims are women and children. That’s why women have to be at the table where decisions are taken. Women know how to manage crises and should have free access to leadership.”
Ms. Kaba also stressed that it is imperative to address the issue of violence against women and girls in Africa, adding that the culture of impunity that prevails in some African countries must be eradicated.
In her closing remarks, she noted that young African women must take every opportunity to grow and learn in order to be able to climb the leadership ladder. Referring to her own leadership journey, Ms. Kaba said that the Amujae Initiative provided her with unparalleled support and unique networking opportunities and encouraged other women to consider applying.