“Celebrating Africa Day is celebrating women and youth”
25 May 2022
May 25 is Africa Day, the culmination of many events in our towns and cities to commemorate the African continent and its people.
Conferences, music and dance shows, gastronomic initiatives, cinema-forums, etc. From Mundukide we want to take advantage of this day to listen and amplify reflections such as that of Amtu Akumfi-Ameyaw, a staunch Ghanaian defender of the rights of disadvantaged people and an ambassador for the participation and inclusion of young people, women and children. A visionary woman in tune with sustainability and digitization issues and leader of GIRLS IN ICT.
All over the world women and young people have struggled to receive recognition, attention, inclusion, etc. The achievement of these desires implies for these people to reach a high degree of fulfillment. This explains why the United Nations, in its Sustainable Development Goals, addresses issues related to women and youth, counting on a specific objective, such as SDG 5 – Gender Equality.
There is no doubt that on the African continent these gaps are wider, due to some well-known factors such as poverty. But it would be unfair and inappropriate not to value the efforts and progress made over the years by the women and youth of Africa. Women and youth in Africa have been supported through policy review and implementation, strategic positioning and inclusion, and global opportunity generation. I take advantage of the celebration of Africa Day 2022 to pay tribute to these groups, especially young women, who are working enormously to bring prosperity to our continent.
A step forward in the lives of women and young people in Africa is the support received through public policies. In a country like mine, Ghana, a youth policy was re-enacted in 2010 that promoted youth participation in five priority areas: vocational education and training, scientific research and technology, information, communication and technology (ICT), and employment. youth and business development. And this is not limited to politics, but Ghana has demonstrated its commitment to these priorities with major national projects. The Ministry of Education has promoted the GIRLS IN TIC program (a program that I direct in higher education), in which girls participate, from primary to higher education, in different courses on new technologies -including programming- and the winners, depending on the level from which they come, receive computer equipment for their communities or those of a higher level go directly to participate in the ICT incubators. The Ministry of Education has built high schools for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Technical Vocational Training that are already active, as well as two state universities that have incorporated entrepreneurship as a compulsory subject from the first to the fourth year. .
In Ghana, there is also a national gender policy that addresses female poverty and women’s access to justice and health, among others. Likewise, we have institutions with the sole mandate of ensuring compliance with said policies, such as the Ghana Enterprises Agency and the Microfinance and Small Loans Agency. In Sierra Leone, the last 5 years have been characterized by high-impact public policies, such as the adoption of realistic approaches to violence, harassment and sexual abuse.
In recent years, many countries on the African continent have included and strategically placed women and youth in positions of power. Women and young people have proven to provide innovative solutions, not parochial or patriarchal, and that is why it is important that they occupy high-level positions and positions to be able to directly influence the decisions that are made. In Namibia there are young women like Daisry Mathias, Presidential Advisor, Emma Inautila Theofelus, Deputy Minister for ICT, and Patience Masua, the youngest woman ever elected to the Namibian Parliament. In Ghana we also have women like Jake Bediako, who was a youth ambassador for diaspora affairs in the office of the president in 2018 and is now an ambassador for youth engagement. Almost all the CEOs of the government agencies are young and many of the MPs are women (young) and we have the youngest members of parliament who are women, like Francisca Oteng Mensah, the youngest ever to enter the parliament of Ghana .
The women and young people of the African continent, like the rest of the people, are taking advantage of the available opportunities, such as greater participation in youth councils and boards, scholarships and others. We are not lacking in action or ideas, we are lacking in financial support. The youth of today are already leading tomorrow.
Happy Africa Day!