Malawian President Joyce Banda, on Saturday the 25th of May, called for more protection of the girl-child and mothers on the African continent.
President Banda was speaking during the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the African Union, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
President Banda, who received a very big round of applause after being introduced by Carlos Lopesi, Executive Secretary for the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), lamented that despite 50 years of African unity, mothers continue to die giving birth and too many children will never see their fifth birthday.
“We make bold statements about our efforts to reduce infant, child and maternal mortality, but progress is heartbreakingly slow. We need to recognize that this is a crisis and act accordingly. We need to commit and enact practical policies that ensure the lives of both mothers and children are protected. We need to make sure that pregnancy and motherhood are indeed a source of joy, rather than a source of sorrow,” said President Banda.
President Banda said it remains a fact that a girl-child is less likely to be educated and even if she does go to school, a girl-child is more likely to drop out before completing her education
“Lest we think that gender issues are for grassroots only, I wish to remind the Union that after 50 years, Africa has registered two female African Head of States and the Chairperson of our own Commission”
President Banda delivered a reflective speech challenging African leaders to work harder to achieve sustainable development in Africa.
Earlier in the day, according to Presidential Press officer Brian Banda, the Malawi leader attended the working Breakfast for Head of States and Governments under New Economic Partnership for African Development NEPAD.