i.e “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063” The newsletter is published each year according to the annual themes of the AU as decided by our Heads of State and Government.
The AU ECHO provides a vital linkage between the African Union and the African people It is an avenue through which we can share knowledge and experiences that enhance our integration and unity By giving voice to African people to tell their own stories of development, it helps us to achieve our desire to be a people centered African Union, especially now as we focus on Agenda 2063.
The manuscripts in this edition cover a wide scope of areas in which progress has been achieved and where challenges remain in terms of achieving the true empowerment and development of women The theme for our Summits this year deserves a special place in all our hearts Women constitute more than half of Africa’s population They give birth to the other half Women make up seventy- five per cent of the agricultural workforce They constitute the bulk of cross-border traders and still provide for the well-being of communities, the workforce and our societies, as well as being custodians of our culture.
The continent has taken many decisions towards the emancipation of women and gender parity The African Union’s gender architecture includes important documents such as Article 4 (L) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, the Fund for African Women, and the African Women’s Decade.
The African Union Commission, and more importantly the member states, have to implement these decisions. This newsletter allows us to hear from the people how the decisions made by our leaders are impacting their lives. As you read through this newsletter, you will find that the contributors have presented us with well researched information that can be used by others in their own programmes on empowering women.
The writers also point to areas where we as the African Union, member states of the African Union and societies in general, should adjust and re-focus if we are to achieve gender parity by or before 2063, as set out in the Agenda 2063 framework. May this short overview on women’s empowerment and development arouse your own interest to learn how policies adopted by African Heads of State and Government are making a difference to the people of this continent.
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
Chairperson: African Union Commission