Malawi First Lady Gertrude Mutharika has called on COMESA member countries to put a lot of resources in supporting girl child education for the region to achieve meaningful women economic empowerment and achieve sustainable industrial development.
Madam Mutharika was speaking on Monday when she addressed the 8thCOMESA First Ladies Roundtable Meeting held as part of the 18thCOMESA heads of state and government summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The theme for the meeting was “Economic Empowerment of Women: Key to Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development”
In her address Madam Mutharika said there is need to let the door of learning open the over-riding importance of women’s education, the foundation upon which everything else must be built.
“If we think of life as a long race, it is education that provides the training, the nourishment, and the support. Without good quality education, you walk up to the starting line with a severe disadvantage.
“It is against this background that there is a great need to focus a lot of resources in supporting the girl child education. If the girl child is educated, we will be creating a future generation of economically empowered women,” said Madam Mutharika.
The First Lady bemoaned the slow progress in economic empowerment of women across the COMESA region saying women continue to participate poorly in entrepreneurial activities.
Among other things she said women have poor access to credit, land, skills, knowledge and information, which worsen their participation in any meaningful economic activities.
Madam Mutharika said to significantly and thoroughly address issues of poverty and vulnerability of women in the COMESA region, there is need to improve access of women to economic resources such as credit through the establishment of the women economic empowerment fund; enhance women’s access to and ownership of land, property; and also enhance women’s capacity development.
“COMESA should endevour create a world where every little girl from every corner of this Region can fulfill their potential without impediment, where women will let their confidence roar from the roof tops, their cups run over with self- assurance, that a woman can be a top surgeon, or indeed leader in any field that she might choose,” she said.
On Malawi the First Lady said, the country has a whole department of Gender Affairs, whose mandate is to formulate, coordinate and implement issues of gender equality and women empowerment programmes.
Currently she said Malawi is running two important programmes which include the Social Cash Transfer whose aim is to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.
Other programmes include the Community Savings and Investment Programme (COMSIP).
About fifteen First Ladies participated in the Round Table Meeting.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :