The official national launch of the 2016 African Human Development Report was held in Addis Ababa, on Oct 13, 2016, at the Hilton Hotel, in the presence of the First Lady H.E. Roman Tesfaye, the First lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Ahunna Eziakonwa, UN Resident Coordinator UNDP Resident Representative (Res Rep) and UN Humanitarian Coordinator. The national launch of the 2nd edition of the this 2016 Report focused on the theme “Accelerating Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa “.
UNDP Res Rep, Ahunna Eziakonwa stated in her speech that: ‘women’s rights has moved in leaps and bounds in the last three decades and universally beginning to see tangible benefits accruing to women ranging from issues of social justice, equitable treatment and access to resources including property rights as well as representation in position of leadership. Despite this progress there still exists inequality between male and female in terms of accessing education and healthcare’.
The African Human Development Report indicates that Women on Average achieve only 87% of men’s human development level; this inconsistency is mainly attributed to women having less command on economic resources as well as poorer education and health outcomes.
The closing statement was in order to have a successfully sustainable human development accelerating Gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa needs to be focused.
As the First lady stated in her speech ‘The report’s theme Accelerating Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa is one that she is personally committed to and an area of engagement she has prioritized in her role as a First Lady Ethiopia’ .
Continuing her speech she said ‘ The capacity of women associations to voice the priorities of women that they represent is weak. Access and quality of economic services such as agricultural extension service provided to women needs to be further expanded to improve the livelihood of women. Women’s work load is still to heavy needs to be minimized.Representation of women in positions of leadership in all areas, including businesses, is still very low. Gender disparity at higher level of education remains an issue of concern. Leadership commitment at all levels needs to be translated on the ground to a situation where women are empowered to aspire and to achieve higher leadership positions.
Finally,concluding her speech Mrs. Tesfaye said ‘The social and economic transformation we aspire to achieve and the world we want to see by 2030 cannot be reached without empowering women economical, socially and politically.’
As part of the launch of the African Human Development Report 2016, there was a live experience where the Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE) two members (Exotic Leather and Entoto Bete Artisan) and two women representatives from the grassroots that went through the skills training’s, from Axsum and Shiromeda shared their experiences.
During this event, mini-exhibition was organized where some of the project partners (“Connecting 1,500 Women and Young Girls to the Export Market”) took part. At this mini-exhibition, from the Addis Ababa project site four women groups involved in spinning, weaving, embroidery &knitting and dyeing & fabric printing took part. Out of Addis Ababa, that took part in the mini-exhibition was the woman’s group from Axsum involved in basket weaving. Apart from those grassroots women, seven CAWEE members that are involved in connecting the products of those grassroots women to markets also exhibited their products, where those companies exhibited also their value-added products, like jewelries, coffee honey, home and fashion accessories, etc.