Rwanda: Investing in Women Key to Gender Parity-Kagame

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Rwanda President Paul Kagame with members of parliament; Kigali, 4 October 2013

President Paul Kagame yesterday participated in a high-level meeting showcasing the Sahel women empowerment and demographic dividend initiative themed: ‘Strengthening partnership to accelerate Africa’s demographic dividend.’

Chaired by President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso and held on the sidelines of the 71stUnited Nations General Assembly, in New York, the meeting aims to establish an initiative on Demographic Dividends in nations across Africa.

Sharing Rwanda’s experience, President Kagame highlighted an approach to gender parity focusing on empowerment.

“One way has been to invest in school, health and activities that will empower them and enable them to do things that benefit them. They have to be able to contribute to decisions that affect them and the whole country,” he said.

President Kagame described the most successful approach to transformation as one that must be built on mutually beneficial partnerships.

“Nothing will work unless we ourselves have determined we need to do things we can to build on the support we receive,”

The president highlighted the numbers of women in leadership in Rwanda, including 64 percent of women in parliament, 42 percent in government and 50 percent in local administration.

“These numbers tell a big story. Women are involved in everyday life, empowering themselves and making decisions. I don’t think what we have done is magic, it’s what anyone else can do. What we have achieved is just demonstration that it is possible and other people can do it,” Kagame added.

The high level meeting was aimed at expediting the implementation of a continental initiative on demographic dividend for Africa ahead of the African Union Summit in 2017 that will he held under the theme: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in the Youth.”

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