Ms Hanna Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has said Africa needs to do more to empower its women in the quest to achieve the Africa Union?s (AU) agenda 2063 adopted in January 2014.
Speaking at the flag-raising ceremony to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the AU, she said at the heart of the Agenda 2063, is the recognition that development in Africa needs to be people driven with emphasis on the potential of women and young people.
The event was on the theme: ?Year of women empowerment and development towards Agenda 2063?.
Ms Tetteh said Agenda 2063 hinges on seven key aspirations: creating a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development; politically integrated continent united and based on the ideal of pan Africanism and Africa?s renaissance; an Africa of good governance, democracy and respect for the rule of law, a peaceful and united Africa, an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics.
She said there is still a lot more to be done in supporting women in the various countries of the AU, as the expectation to eliminate harmful cultural practices to women and all forms of discrimination against them are yet to be met.
?It is not enough to just declare a year that focuses on the needs of women but is important for us to drill down that theme and to ensure that we begin to work together at the continental level and within our countries,? she said.
Ms Tetteh said although Ghana?s Minister of Women, Gender and Social Protection has done a lot in dealing with women?s issues and social inclusion, there is yet more to be done.
She said the situation is the same on the continental level, amidst the challenges women faced during the outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra-Leone and the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
Ms Tetteh said the achievement of these aspirations would not just be the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration or just an annual ceremony but would require the involvement of civil society and other stakeholders in the society.
In a statement read on his behalf by Ms Pavelyn Tendai Musaka, Zimbabwean Ambassador to Ghana and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Chair of the AU, said the Union has taken a great leap in gender equality out of the realization that women are the cornerstones of stability and social progress in every society.
He said many women, however, remained unsung heroes, though they had left indelible marks in history of mankind.
?Informing this transformation is the realization that women are a formidable asset in achieving sustainable economic development. It is for this reason that African leaders chose this theme in order to acknowledge the central role of women in implementing Agenda 2063.?0
President Mugabe said Africa was still under siege by neo-colonialism and the negative effects of globalisation and this called for bold determinism and guarding against betraying the ideals of the AU.
He said although Africa has rich mineral and agricultural resources, which if harnessed in accordance with its vision, would improve the lives of the people of hunger through the eradication of poverty and disease.
?Africa still has limited capital and industrial base and less developed domestic markets over 50 years after the founding fathers laid the solid foundation for Africa?s economic integration and development.?
He called on Africans to leverage these abundant resources for Africa?s development, to industrialise its economy and move away from exportation of its raw material.
?In spite of the challenges, hope is not lost and Africans will remain alive to the need to push forward with our economic agenda hence the historic decision of the heads to craft Africa?s economic blueprint: Agenda 2063,?he stated.