AU summit will focus on gender parity, inclusive development– Commissioner

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The 26th summit of the African Union (AU) will focus on strategies to advance gender parity, women’s rights and inclusive development, a senior AU official has said.

The summit is scheduled to hold in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Jan. 30

Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, made the statement on Thursday in Addis Ababa while briefing newsmen.

She said that promotion of women’s rights was now at the heart of policy debate in many African countries.

She said that the realisation of meaningful development in Africa as outlined in the Agenda 2063 would be
possible if there is real commitment to gender parity.

She stressed the need for political commitment and resource allocation to achieve the goal.

She said that the summit, with the theme “Africa Year of Human Rights’’ with particular focus on the rights of women”, was in line with Africa’s long-term agenda to achieve gender equality in all facets of human endeavour.

“It is envisaged the theme will build on the 2015 achievements to strengthen human rights in general and the rights of women in particular.

“Many African countries have adopted progressive laws and policies to promote the rights of women and girls,’’ she said.

The Commissioner said that incremental progress on gender parity had been realised in many Sub-Saharan African countries, as evidenced by high school enrollment for girls alongside female representation in national leadership positions.

“It is important to emphasise that at this juncture, there are positive developments on gender equality and empowerment of women in the continent.

“Several AU member states have taken progressive measures to narrow gender gap with resounding success,” she said.

Abdullahi called on governments to abolish harmful practices like early marriages and female genital mutilation in order to realise gender equality.

She said that greater political commitment, policy reforms and community engagement were crucial to eliminate bottlenecks that hinder women’s progress. (Xinhua)