Inspiring Inclusion Is A Fundamental Requirement For Fostering Sustainable Development—Dr. Collins Yeboah Afari

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The Director General for Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (GI-KACE), Dr. Collins Yeboah Afari has stated that gender equality is not just a goal on its own but a fundamental requirement for addressing issues of poverty reduction, fostering sustainable development, and establishing effective governance.

Speaking at the 2024 Females in Tech (FEMITECH) Conference held at GI-KACE on March 7, 2024, under the theme ‘Inspire Inclusion,’ Dr. Yeboah-Afari said FEMITECH aims to deepen the understanding of fostering gender equality and equity across workplaces, schools, and homes.

Reflecting on the progress made over the past year since the inception of FEMITECH, he disclosed that the contributions of women in shaping society and the technology field is indispensable, adding that the importance of championing and empowering women in technology and beyond will build a strong ecosystem.

“According to a 2021 report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), women comprise only 24.1% of ICT professionals in Africa. Issues such as unconscious bias, discrimination, and lack of mentorship continue to hinder women’s entry and retention in the tech industry,” he noted.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Lawyer Mrs Eva Andoh-Poku, Deputy CEO, of Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), noted that the theme ‘Inspire Inclusion’ is a continuous journey that requires commitment from all players in the ecosystem.

“Inclusion is not a destination, but a continuous journey requiring commitment from all. Women need to create a world where everyone feels valued and empowered to reach their full potential by working together,” she said.

Speaking on the topic: “Inspire Inclusion: STEM Education the Game Changer”, Dr. Lucy Agyepong the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Academic City University College explained why a diverse range of perspectives is crucial for societal progress through STEM, adding that, digital skills for the workplace are crucial.

Ing. Lucy Agyepong further discussed “Stakeholders must work together to provide resources, attract underrepresented groups and prepare students for disruptive technologies of the future. Advocates must promote STEM accessibility for all.”

Prof. Elsie Effah Kaufmann, Associate Professor and Dean of the School of Engineering Sciences at the University of Ghana and Quiz Mistress of the National Science and Maths Quiz highlighted the importance of bridging the gap for access to information, economic opportunities, innovation and reducing inequality.

She urged the various educational institutions to create inclusive curriculums that inspire women with diverse learning styles.

At the event, three women were awarded for their role in promoting technology, namely; Hon Ama Pomaa Boateng, MP for JUABEN Constituency, Ashanti Region; Madam Esther Akua Gyamfi, Executive Secretary of the National Council on Persons with Disabilities (NCPD); and Thabisile Phumo, Executive Vice President for Stakeholder Relations at Sibanye-StiIlwater, South Africa.

FEMITECH is an annual conference organised to commemorate International Women’s Day to honour females in the technology space while highlighting opportunities in ICT that are readily available for women.

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