• First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta has singled out lack of access to credit, low representation in decision making positions, lack of control over productive land and lack of financial control. 
  • President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and his Ethiopian counterpart Sahle-Work Zewde also addressed the ongoing 2019 Global Gender Summit in Kigali.
  • The African Development Bank (AfDB) has promise to empower Kenyan women and girls especially in capacity building in business.

Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, has reiterated her commitment to continue championing for gender equality and women empowerment in Kenya.

Speaking at the high-level segment of the ongoing 2019 Global Gender Summit in Kigali, an event that was also addressed by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and his Ethiopian counterpart Sahle-Work Zewde, the first lady said she supports the removal of barriers preventing women and girls from realizing their full potential.

“We envisage a country where every woman and girl enjoys gender equality; a country where all legal, social and economic barriers that hinder the progress of women and girls are removed,” she said.

Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame, the President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina and the Chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat also the biennial summit.

Mrs Kenyatta singled out lack of access to credit, low representation in decision making positions, lack of control over productive land and lack of financial control to make spending decisions on education and health as some of the impediments to gender equality.

African leaders pose for a photo at 2019 Global Gender Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. (courtesy)
African leaders pose for a photo at 2019 Global Gender Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. (courtesy)

She, however, expressed optimism that the conference would help unlock the potential of women and girls to enable them contribute effectively to the realization Africa’s development agenda.

“This is the spirit of Africa’s vision towards accelerating its path to sustainable socio-economic development. Our collective commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ is a new chapter in our struggle towards achieving gender equality,” First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said.

Her sentiments comes as the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence,an annual international campaign kicks off.

This year’s theme “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands agaisnt Rape!” will be observed from 25 November to 10 December.

At the same time, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has lend a helping hand to Mrs Kenyatta’s cause.

On Monday, the bank’s deputy director general Nnenna Nwabufo met with First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on the sidelines of the ongoing Global Gender Summit in Kigali, Rwanda and promised to empower Kenyan women and girls especially in capacity building in business.

“We could do this through capacity building to enable women (Kenyan) to benefit from development projects implemented by the government in partnership with African Development Bank,” Ms Nwabufo said.

African Development Bank (AfDB) deputy director general Nnenna Nwabufo (L) with Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta (R) at the sidelines of the ongoing Global Gender Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. (courtesy)
African Development Bank (AfDB) deputy director general Nnenna Nwabufo (L) with Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta (R) at the sidelines of the ongoing Global Gender Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. (courtesy)

The Kenyan First Lady welcomed AfDB’s commitment to partner with Kenyan women saying it will go a long way in transforming the lives of the beneficiaries.

“Economic empowerment allows women to participate in decision making at the household levels. Eliminating these financial bottlenecks has transformed families and communities,” the First Lady said.

The biennial summit organized by the African Development Bank under the theme “unpacking constraints to gender equality”, is exploring mechanisms for scaling up innovative gender friendly financial solutions among other related subjects.