By Kembet Bolton

The Vice President of the Republic of Liberia H.E Dr Jewel Howard-Taylor has emphasized the need to prioritize the empowerment of women and girls in Africa during and after the COVID-19 pandemic as a key response strategy.

She highlighted this point during her keynote speech during the recently organized Africa Summit 2020, put together by the African Leadership Magazine and hosted by the magazine’s publisher and CEO Dr Ken Giami.

Vice President Taylor asserted that women and girls constitute half of the world’s population and that in Africa, they are the most vulnerable group exposed to the negative impact of the pandemic.

She particularly raised concern about the surge in sexual and gender-based violence amidst all the chaos we are already facing. Participants were thrown in a solemn mood when Mrs Taylor cited a pathetic case of a three months old baby that was raped to death somewhere in west Africa!

As a feminist myself, It was heartwarming when Mrs Taylor highlighted the role women will play in the road map for Africa’s economic recovery post-COVID -19, considering the challenges women on the continent continue to face daily.  In her words, ‘when a woman is empowered, the whole nation is empowered’ – and I am hoping our leaders share the same position. According to Mrs Taylor, reports coming from international organizations have proven that women and girls bear the brunt of the effects of COVID -19, more, so issues around women empowerment at this time has to be a priority.

Mrs Taylor also launched the Africa Business Leaders Council, a network promoted by the African Leadership Magazine as the continents foremost network for Africans and non-Africans, who are united by their love for the continent and its people.

The event with the theme COVID-19: Pathways to Africa’s Economic Recovery and Future Growth, traditionally holds in London UK, but, held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 disruption. The summit is part of African Leadership magazine’s response to the debate on resetting Africa’s development priorities post-COVID-19.  

Other discussants and panellists at the event included the Commonwealth Secretary-General,  Baroness Patricia Scotland, Eswatini Prime Minister HE Ambrose Dlamini; Lord Dollar Popat of the UK House of Lords; Sen. Manqoba Khumalo, Minister of Commerce & Trade, Kingdom of Eswatini; Hon. Hamat Bah, Minister of Culture & Tourism, The Gambia; Dr Christian Lindfeld, Managing Partner, Africa Advisors GmbH Germany; Dr Victor Oladdokun, Former Director of Communications, African Development Bank; Senyo Hosi, Chairman Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, Saul Frazer, CEO Global Properties, Gambia; and Professor Samuel Edoumiekumo, Dr Esther Muchemi CEO Samchi Group Kenya, among others.