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In Ghana, African Women ponder their empowerment

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THIRD edition of Young African Women Congress (YAWC), organized by the EXLA Group, was held between July 22 and 26, 2018, in Accra, capital of Ghana. The congress witnessed the convergence of over 250 participants of the African continent such as; Nigeria, Liberia, Cameroun; Uganda, Kenya and the host, Ghana.

It provided the delegates opportunity to brainstorm on the theme, ‘Economic Empowerment of Women: A Prerequisite for Continental Development’, which calls for urgent need to fund women, especially the rural dwellers, the poor in the sub-urban and to formalize the informal sector through adequate funding and mobilization.

Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Southeast zone was among the various groups that graced the congress which gave them opportunity to have first time visit to the Republic of Ghana. The trip was made possible by the Governor of Enugu State, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. Undoubtedly, the conference was very educative and enlightening.

The event, however, attracted dignitaries from different African countries such as the Nigerian High Commission to Ghana, His Excellency, Olufemi Abikoye, Angolan Amb to Ghana, H.E, Augusto da Silva Cunha, Colombia Amb to Ghana, H.E, Claudia Turbay Quintero, Ghana’s first female Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei Opare, among others, who in their separate remarks, acknowledged the role of women in continental development, saying that the aim of the congress hanged on the advancement of the goal number five of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

They described women as mothers of the society, agents of economic empowerment, whose contributions are however, not recognized, noting that empowerment of women is the best way to mobilise a nation and urged delegates to push forward whatever they learnt from the congress for the advancement of other women in their respective countries.

The Executive Director, EXLA Group, Daniel Osei Tuffuor, while addressing the congress, outlined the progress made so far by the group in championing the course of women. He expressed joy in welcoming the various countries that graced the event, urging them to impart positively on their fellow women through the knowledge garnered from the congress.

Speakers, who dwelt on different topics, discussed among other things, how to lift women out of poverty and formalizing the informal sector through funding. It was discovered that over 1.8billion people are in the informal sector. The possible ways of lifting women out of poverty as outlined are; educating more women on the need to take up jobs in the informal sector, government at all levels creating enabling environment to hire more women; regulating and monitoring the informal sectors to make conditions of service better for workers, especially women as well as providing political platform whereby women should participate in the policy formulation.

The congress equally engaged on group discussions on topics like; women and private sector workers, women and entrepreneurship, sexual harassment at the workplace; women as agents of economic development through governance, threat of teenage pregnancy on the economy of Africa and social inclusion: a critical aspect of development.

Keynote speaker, Josephine Dawuni, Assistant Professor, Howard University, Washington DC USA, emphasized on the need to move beyond women empowerment to women enhancement and encouraged women to believe in themselves.

Dr. Dawuni, who urged women to value their traditional roles and contributions in the society by acknowledging their inner strength and resilience, stressed that they should support one another when it comes to decision making, as well as enhance their capabilities with every single opportunity.

The delegates were taken on excursion to the famous Asante Palace Museum, which housed antiquities such as the Golden Stool, statues of different kings and Queen mothers, talking drums locally made in 1886, used to determine the movement of the king, among other interesting things. Asente kingdom is

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