“Full participation of women at all levels of public life can help the African continent achieve a positive economic, social, and political transformation.”
These remarks were made by Amujae Leader Malado Kaba at an event in Rwanda during the 8th session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, which highlighted the significance of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in achieving gender equality in Africa.
Ms. Kaba spoke alongside Jeanette Bayisenge, Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Mama Keita, Director of the UNECA Sub-regional Office for East Africa, Antonio Pedro, ECA Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr. Fodé Ndiaye, UN Resident Coordinator for Rwanda, and Dr. Diene Keita, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNFPA Deputy Executive Director.
Weighing in on the impact that AfCFTA can have as a vehicle for gender equality in Africa, Ms. Kaba said that any trade agreement should put great emphasis on women as key players in the trade ecosystem on the continent.
“Women make a major contribution to trade in many African countries. 60% of the informal cross-border traders are women. We need to reconcile an agreement that is formal and complex by nature with the informality of our economies.”
She added that, as finance minister in her native Guinea, she succeeded in working with the informal sector by leveraging public procurement, and she encouraged a similar approach in the implementation of AfCFTA.
Ms. Kaba concluded by reiterating her strong belief that Africa’s economic, social, and political transformation relies on the full participation of women “in all sectors and at all levels, including decision-making ones.”