First ladies from across Africa have met some strategic investors in New York, USA, to promote their initiatives and developmental projects undertaken in their various countries.
The meeting formed part of efforts of the first ladies, including; Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, to mobilise resources for their new strategic plan for 2019 to 2023.
Organised by the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), on the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held in New York from September 17 to 28, the first ladies interacted with potential investors in various areas of their work.
The meeting was supported by the Business Council for International Understanding (BCUI) and sponsored by Chevron Corporation, an American multinational energy corporation, RENWOMAN, a gender equality initiative and Uber Technologies Incorporated, an American multinational transportation network.
The meeting was hosted by Goals House, an initiative, which works towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The investors were drawn from the private sector, who work in the fields of HIV and AIDS; non-communicable diseases (NCDs); reproductive, maternal, new-born and child health (RMNCH); gender equality, women and youth empowerment; universal health coverage (UHC); social security and protection including; persons with disabilities, and institutional capacity strengthening.
The OAFLAD in January 2019 launched a new strategic plan with a vision to develop Africa with healthy and empowered children, youth and women.
Hitherto, OAFLAD, which was known as the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) and founded in 2002 by 37 African first ladies was only advocating increased awareness and resource mobilisation to curb HIV and AIDS on the African continent.
However, with its broadened vision, the mission of the organisation is now to contribute to the health and well-being of children, youth and women through advocacy, resource mobilisation and strategic partnerships.
Mrs Antoinette Saasou N’Guesso, President of OAFLAD, in an address to her fellow first ladies and the potential investors, said the new vision of the organisation made it imperative for new investors to get on-board.
She said it was the vision of OAFLAD to see an Africa free of diseases, hunger and poverty especially among its vulnerable groups most of whom were women, children and the disabled.
According to her, resource mobilisation was essential to the success of the organisation’s vision and commended the private sector for supporting the resource initiative of OAFLAD.
Ms Meghan Hagberg, the Senior Vice President, BCUI, in welcoming the first ladies and private investors, said the meeting would help in discussing issues of mutual concern to both the first ladies and the investors.
She commended the first ladies for their roles in ensuring that lives of the most marginalised in society were improved.
Mr Derek Magnes, the Managing Director of Chevron Corporation, said the first ladies were the most dedicated partners who could be considered as dependable allies in achieving their aims.
According to him, Chevron aimed at improving health care to the most marginalised in society in Africa, and was therefore, ready to work with the first ladies to help improve the lives of especially children in the areas of HIV and sickle cell disease.
“A thriving community creates more opportunities for everyone. At Chevron, we partner people and local organisations, where we operate to help support and strengthen communities. We all want to keep our community moving forward,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Akufo-Addo took the opportunity to interact with some officials from Rendeavour, Africa’s largest urban land developers and builders of the Appolonia City near Oyibi in Accra, and Shea Yeleen, producers of refined shea butter products among others.