10th African Union Gender Pre-Summit calls on African women to join in the fight against corruption

10th African Union Gender Pre-Summit calls on African women to join in the fight against corruption
Photo credit: World Bank

18 Jan 2018

The Tenth African Union Gender Pre-Summit officially kicked off on Wednesday, 17 January, 2018 at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Gender Pre-Summit (GPS) is holding under the theme: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa”. The meeting is chaired by Mrs. Mashair Ahmed Elamin Abdalla, Minister of Security and Social Development of Republic of Sudan and Rapporteur of the Specialised Technical Committee (STC) Bureau on Gender and Women Empowerment.

Representing the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E Moussa Faki Mohamed, at the opening ceremony, the Commissioner for Political Affairs of the AUC, Amb. Minata Samate Cessouma, underlined that, Gender Pre-Summit meetings have played an important role in influencing and shaping AU policies on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Applauding the decade long journey of the GPS, Amb Cessouma added that: “the transformation of the pre-summit on gender from a civil society platform into an institutionalized political platform of the AU is testimony to the importance of a strong partnership between the AU and civil society organisations.”

“I would like to express my deep gratitude to GIMAC and other Civil Society Organizations from the continent and the diaspora who helped the launching of this platform,” she noted.

Amb. Cessouma further underscored that the 10th Pre-Summit is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made over the last decade and to plan the way ahead, particularly in the context of the new AU Reform and Agenda 2063.

With regards to the successful implementation of Agenda 2063, the Commissioner emphasized that corruption is a greater obstacle and such forums are crucial to help the AU develop innovative intervention strategies to fight corruption.

Addressing the participants of the Pre-Gender Summit later, the Director of the AU Women, Gender and Development (WGDD), Mrs. Mahawa Kaba Wheeler, congratulated and thanked the women and men whose courage and vision has contributed to the creation of the Gender Pre-Summit platform.

Mrs. Mahawa recalled that “Agenda 2063, the roadmap of our continent reminds us to renew our commitments and ambitions for the promotion of the status of women and gender equality in Africa and especially to realize them because the prosperity of Africa is clearly conditioned on the opportunities that will be created for women and young people on our continent.”

During the meeting, the theme of the AU-Gender Pre-Summit (GPS) that is aligned to the 2018 theme proved to be a well-conceived and timely issue as corruption and gender inequality are closely connected. The meeting unanimously and singularly pointed out that corruption disproportionately affects the poor especially women and perpetuates poverty by affecting public programs meant to benefit the poor.

Honorable Dr. Jean A. N. Kalilani, M.P., Chairperson of the Bureau of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Gender and women empowerment and Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare of the Republic of Malawi in her opening remarks highlighted that it is the responsibilities of Ministers responsible for Gender and Women Affairs to be actively involved in advocating for the eradication of corruption.

“It is our responsibility as Minister to ensure that the disparities persistent in the region in the area of gender equality and empowerment of women and youth especially young women are eradicated,” she noted.

In the same vein, ideas were expressed that the theme of the 10th GPS need deep analysis by decision makers as it is one of the major challenges in African countries. The Chairperson of the Permanent Representatives Committee who is also the Ambassador the Republic of Guinea, Mrs. Sidibe Fatoumata Kaba, Ambassador highlighted that, “the struggles of gender equality, men/women’s parity and empowerment of women cannot be won without the eradication of the phenomenon of corruption that plagues our people and prevents the development of our countries.”

Ms Hendrina Doroba, Chairperson of Gender Is My Agenda (GIMAC) on her part, stressed that women are more at risk of experiencing the negative consequences of corruption. She said “it is possible for us to fight this corruption for our dignity as a people and development of our continent. We need shift in values, accountability and end to impunity. We need systems to track and to prosecute. Fighting corruption should not have any sacred cows.”

Mrs. Demitu Hambisa Bonsa, Minister for Women and Children Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in her welcome remarks stated that corruption is one of the root causes of gender inequality and therefore are closely related. She indicated that “where there is gender inequality, corruption flourishes and where there is corruption, gender inequality flares”.

On the way forward she underscored the need to win the fight against corruption so as to ensures the sustainability of gains in social, economic and political development, in general and in gender equality and women empowerment in Africa in particular. Moreover, the fact that women as agents of change are often more effective than men at fighting corruption in their commitments was also highlighted in the meeting.

According Mr. Philip Baker, Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti and Permanent Representative to the AU, listing women’s engagement in the fight to end corruption include community mobilization and education on anti-corruption, spearheading public campaigns and conducted advocacy against corruption in partnership with legal, governmental, civil society and international bodies.

Mr. Baker, who also represents Development Partners at the AU Headquarters added that “the importance of empowering women and girls in the fight against corruption cannot be understated”.

The 2018 Gender Pre-Summit (GPS) is organized by the AUC Directorate of Women, Gender and Development (WGDD) of the AUC in collaboration with the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC), in partnership with the Civil Society and the UN, supported by International Development Partners.

Additionally, the year 2018 also marks the 10th anniversary of the AU-GPS, which has played a significant role in influencing and shaping African Union (AU) policies on gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE) and ensuring the inclusion of the critical voices of women and their perspectives in AU.

Participants for the 2018 Gender Pre-Summit drawn from African Union Member States; Ministers responsible for Women Affairs, representatives of the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) meeting on Gender, AU women ambassadors; AU Organs, Representational and Liaison offices; Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and RMs; Civil Society Organizations & Diaspora organizations; UN Partners; International Development Partners, Media and invited guests.

Opening speech of the Chairperson of the AUC, H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat

Read by Commissioner for Political Affairs of the AUC, Amb. Minata Samate Cessouma

I would like to offer you the sincere apologies of HE Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union who, in view of the importance of the theme of your meeting, would have liked to have been with you this morning and to pronounce the introductory word but because other pre-Summit commitments he cannot be among us.

He asked me to convey his warm greetings.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 2018 African Union Gender Pre-Summit under the theme “Winning the fight against corruption: a sustainable path to gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa”, as part of the activities on the sidelines of the 30th Summit of the AU.

I wish to thank you sincerely for having responded positively to my invitation to attend this event which is of outmost importance in the Gender Agenda of the African Union.

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the AU Gender Pre-Summit, which has played a significant role in influencing and shaping AU policies on gender equality and women’s empowerment. This platform has ensured the inclusion of the critical voices of women and their perspectives in the AU.

Initially conceived as a civil society platform under the Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC), the Gender Pre-Summit is now well-established as one of the key multi-stakeholder policy platforms of the AU. The transformation of the Gender Pre-Summit from a civil society platform to an institutionalized AU policy platform affirms the importance of strong partnerships between the AU and Civil Society Organs. Allow me, therefore, to express my profound gratitude to the leadership of GIMAC and all other CSOs in the continent and the Diaspora that contributed in initiating this platform.

Over the past Decade, the Gender Pre-Summit has served as a women’s advocacy platform to ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment remain on the priority list of the highest decision-making organs of the AU. It has enabled AU Heads of State and Government to adopt some of the most progressive women’s rights policies and legal instruments such as the 2009 Gender Policy, which is currently under evaluation, the 2010 Fund for African Women, the Women’s Decade that started in 2010 and will end in 2020.

The African Leaders have put in place various special mechanisms including the first Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, whom I would like to commend for her commitment and actions on the ground in favor of the empowerment of women.

The 10th AU Gender Pre-Summit is therefore an opportunity for us to reflect on the road travelled over the past Decade and to plan for the journey ahead especially in the context of the new AU reforms and Agenda 2063.

I therefore hope that this meeting will develop concrete recommendations on the future of AU gender policy platforms and will prepare adequately for the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Gender Pre-Summit, that are scheduled later in the year.

I wish to remind you that this meeting is convened under the theme “Winning the fight against corruption: a sustainable path to gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa. The AU Heads of State and Government, concerned that Africa is considered among the world’s most corrupt continents have declared 2018, the African year of the fight against corruption to put an end to this scourge which is plaguing the continent and is delaying the progress of Africa. It appears from rankings that out of ten most corrupt countries in the world, six are from Africa. The impact on development is just as illustrative.

Every year, the African continent loses close to 150 billion dollars to corruption. This is unacceptable and must be addressed with immediate effect. Otherwise the vision of achieving an Africa that is self-sustaining and prosperous will remain nothing but a dream.

Corruption affects every facet of our lives. For example, in politics where some politicians are involved in high-level graft, to low-level bribes to custom officials, police, educators or even medical officers to receive preferential treatment. Large businesses collapse because of corruption. At a community level, service delivery is either delayed or substandard services are delivered and in the worst case scenario, no services are provided at all to the poor and vulnerable. This exacerbates poverty and delays development

Corruption is by far, the highest risk to the successful implementation of Agenda 2063. It is for this reason that meetings such as this one are important in assisting the AU to develop creative intervention strategies to prevent and curb corruption.

It is also important to highlight that corruption affects progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. It deepens already existing inequalities and discrimination in women’s access to their fundamental human rights. It is therefore imperative that we mainstream gender equality and women’s empowerment in our anti-corruption strategies.

On that note, I hope this Gender Pre-Summit will be able to interrogate, among others, how best to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment in the mandate of anti-corruption institutions in the continent.

It is for us women to ensure that women’s specific concerns are addressed as well as how to support the full and effective participation of women in anti-corruption processes in the continent.

In closing, I wish to reaffirm the commitment of the African Union Commission to partner with you to fight corruption in Africa and to advance the rights of women to development, gender equality and women’s empowerment. I wish you fruitful deliberations and I look forward to your recommendations and strategies.

I thank you.


African Union efforts in Combatting Corruption: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities | Presentation - Author(s): Hon. Sabina Seja, AU Advisory Board on Corruption (File size: 220.38 KB)
Addressing Adverse Effects of Corruption On Gender Equality | Presentation - Author(s): Mr. Apollos Nwafor, Oxfam International, Pan Africa Director (File size: 273.12 KB)
Corruption and its adverse effects on efforts towards Gender Equality | Paper - Author(s): Mr. Apollos Nwafor, Oxfam International, Pan Africa Director (File size: 198.26 KB)
Source African Union
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Date 18 Jan 2018
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