Rwanda President Paul Kagame has spoken out on the importance of women leadership, accountability for commitments to women empowerment and the need to accelerate the momentum towards greater inclusion and fairness.
“My country's experience has been that equality and empowerment give a different meaning by women leaders because they tend to take policy beyond the usual rhetoric and improve service delivery to women, girls, and the families they belong to,” said Kagame.
The President made the remarks on January 26 during a special roundtable discussion organised to launch the 10th Anniversary of APRM at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Leaders present reflected on the lessons learned and challenges of the last decade, as well as the way forward.
In response to a question on managing diversity in Africa and specifically policy perspectives on promoting women empowerment and gender equality, President Kagame said:
“Clearly, we cannot ease the pressure for greater inclusion, fairness, and the positive impact it has had, not only on women's lives but on development in general.”
“Instead, now is the time to accelerate action towards this goal.”
An estimated 56% of the Rwandan Parliament and one-third of the cabinet and key positions in government bodies are now dominated by women.
President Kagame arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Saturday to participate in the 20th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union.
Accompanying President Kagame is Mrs Jeannette Kagame who will participate in the General Assembly of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) which marks its 10th Anniversary this year.
Ahead of the AU Summit, President Kagame today took part in working breakfast of the High-Level Committee of the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) hosted by President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. Rwanda and South Africa are members of PICI alongside Algeria, Benin, Togo, Republic of Congo, Egypt, Nigeria and Senegal.
President Kagame also participated in the 18th Summit of the committee of Heads of State and Government of the African Peer Review Forum which marks 10 years of the African Peer Review Mechanism. The session was chaired by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
On Sunday, President Kagame participated in the opening ceremony of the Assembly of the African Union and a working session of the summit where reports of several councils and committees of the AU will be considered.