US: US announces new assistance to advance gender equality in Africa

Washington DC, US (PANA) - The US on Monday announced new assistance to advance gender equality in Africa, saying that long-term development will only be possible when women and men enjoy equal opportunity to rise to their full potential.

It stated that it strongly supports the great strides and commitments many African countries and the African Union (AU) had made to increase women’s and girls’ empowerment through steps to promote good governance and rule of law, accelerate economic growth and enhance
food security, advance respect for human rights, and improve access to services from health
care to education.

The announcement was made at one of the working luncheon sessions, tagged: "Investing in Women for Peace and Prosperity", at the ongoing US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC.

The new commitments include support for up to three countries to develop or implement national strategies to advance women’s participation in peacebuilding and their protection from violence.

Also part of the support is new programmes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Mali, Rwanda, Somalia, and Uganda, as well as across West Africa, focused on increasing women’s participation in peacebuilding and constitution drafting processes, advancing women’s land rights, and mitigating election-related violence.

A document circulated at the event, stated that three new centres had been created to provide business development assistance to women entrepreneurs in East, Southern and West Africa, through the US Department of State’s African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) and the Women’s Entrepreneurial Centers of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) project.

Others are technical support to strengthen AU Commission and national-level efforts to address barriers to the equal participation of women in the agricultural sector and support through Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER), working with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, for grants to organisations that promote the role of women entrepreneurs in selling clean technologies, as well as support for scaling up programmes that educate adolescent girls on clean energy technologies.

The US government also said that it would increase assistance to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to build the capacity of African parliaments working to advance gender equality and to support parliamentary campaigns on specific gender equality issues.

"More broadly, the US Fiscal Year 2015 budget request seeks more than US$190 million to directly advance gender equality across Sub-Saharan and North African countries, which includes activities to promote political and economic opportunities for women, access to health and education services, and efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.  

"We further leverage broader development investments to advance gender equality and omen’s empowerment across Africa," it stated.

It noted that the US government and its agencies were working with AU and African governments to promote leadership opportunities for women and girls, expanding economic
opportunities, and increasing women's role in conflict prevention and security decision-making.

Other initiatives are expanding education opportunities, promoting the health of women and families, as well as addressing gender-based violence.

The event was attended by US and African government officials, wives of some Africa leaders, diplomats, women groups from the US and Africa, and representatives of the civil society groups.

Various panels discussed ways and means to support women in Africa and to boost their participation in public and private sectors.
-0- PANA AA/MA 4Au2014

04 august 2014 22:06:50

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