The 3rd African Women's Economic Empowerment Summit, held at the
Co-organized by New Faces, New Voices and the
Speaking during a session on land and property rights for women, GraÇa Machel, founder of New Faces, New Voices, said land is a key natural resource in unlocking the entreprenurship among women. "We need to demand the right for women to own land so that they can contribute effectively to the development process of their countries' economies," she said.
Machel said it is unfortunate that there is a tendancy to underestimate the role that women play in the economic development of their countries, adding that without the active participation of women, African nations cannot fully develop economically. "Women have the potential to change their own economic status, as well as that of the communities and countries in which they live. Yet, more often than not, women's economic contributions go unrecognised, their work undervalued and their promise unnourished," Machel said.
"Unequal opportunities between women and men continue to hamper women's ability to lift themselves from poverty and gain more options to improve their lives," Machel continued. "Women are better poised to improve their lives when they own land and other assets. Yet just one percent of the world's women own land. Although laws to protect women's property rights exist in most countries, many women still cannot realise their rights."
Earlier, Rose Mwebaza, Special Advisor to the African Union Chairperson on Women's Economic Empowerment and Political Participation, called on African Governments to increase their budgetary allocation to programmes that will help women to own land. African Governments should come up with an effective strategy that will help support women economically as well as ensure that they own land, Mwebaza said. "Women must acquire land so that they can create wealth and help their families to come out of abject poverty."
Contributing on the same topic, Professor of Law at
Meanwhile, some participants have urged the African Central Banks to come up with a policy that will compel commercial banks to lower the lending rate for women. They said Central Banks should advocate for increased financial inclusion and financial literacy among African women.
As both participant and moderator,
For her part,
The African Women's Economic Empowerment Summit is an initiative that brings together the
The objectives of the summit are four-fold: to have economic policies that are informed by credible data on women in finance and the economy; to massively increase women's access to appropriate and affordable finance and financial services; to build robust and diverse financial systems that are inclusive of women; and to improve the sustainability of women-owned businesses in different sectors and to help them grow from micro to small, small to medium, and medium to large.
Participants at the summit included delegates from regulatory bodies, financial services providers, development agencies, academic institutions, think tanks, business and professional organisations, advocacy groups, as well as prominent businessmen and -women and Government leaders.
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