AU summit moots development fund for women

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- After equal representation within the commission, which was gained at the Durban summit in July 2002, African women were the very first beneficiaries of the AU summit here with the decision soon after the opening session Tuesday to create a "special fund for the development of the African woman".
African leaders also committed themselves to push for ratification before the year runs out, of the additional protocol to the African charter for human and peoples rights.
The summit also committed African leaders to put an end to the phenomenon of child soldiers sex slaves on the continent, particularly in conflict zones.
The "Addis Ababa declaration on gender in Africa," adopted Tuesday by some 40 heads of state provides for a periodical report to the AU women's committee, on the status of women in member countries.
Reliable sources told PANA president Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, who first mooted the idea of gender parity, even called for "positive discrimination" to resolve problems specific to African women and youths, insisting especially on their empowerment.
He proposed that at least 35 per cent of seats in the African Parliament be reserved for women, subsequently progressing to a 50/50 parity.
Wade advocated the same gender consciousness in the constitution of other AU bodies.
He urged the AU Commission to reflect on a "positive discrimination programme in favour of the youth" who are the future of Africa and represent the most important section of the population of a continent which he said would remain the world's youngest.
The presidents of Botswana, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Zimbabwe who took part in the debate on gender, displayed the same readiness to make Africans in general and women in particular play a greater role in society.

06 july 2004 20:58:00

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