Southern Africa Trust Supports Women Advancing Africa

The Southern Africa Trust will join organisations from across the continent in supporting the Graca Machel Trust’s inaugural Women Advancing Africa (WAA) Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania this week.

Hundreds of women are expected in the East African capital, from August 9 – 12, 2017, to celebrate the critical role women play in shaping Africa’s development agenda and driving social and economic transformation.

WAA is a new Pan-African flagship initiative established by the Graca Machel Trust to acknowledge and celebrate the critical role women play in shaping Africa’s development agenda and driving social and economic transformation. The Forum puts women at the centre stage of the continent’s economic liberation, by providing a highly visible platform to showcase African women’s leadership and concrete contributions towards building a stronger, more vibrant and equitable future for all Africans.

In supporting the WAA initiative, The Southern Africa Trust and the Graca Machel Trust commissioned a study to explore the main drivers, obstacles and opportunities for women’s empowerment in Africa.  The study specifically looks at the entrepreneurial activities of women in the Graca Machel Trust’s Women Creating Wealth (WCW) programme in Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.

“While an increasing number of women occupy leadership positions in political, social and economic sectors, this has not translated into the overall empowerment of women,” said Ullrich Klins, Southern Africa Trust Project Manager for Private Public Partnerships.

“The study applies this lens to understanding the interviewed WCW participants’ paths and concludes that the journey to empowerment starts with the self – with women building a foundation of self-esteem and confidence in themselves,” he said.

Klins will present findings on August 10.

The overarching objective of WAA is to build a Pan African movement and critical mass of women with capacity to engage policy processes and decision-makers to promote access to opportunities for women to grow their businesses and penetrate new markets.

The project aims at achieving the impact of increasing the number and visibility of well-trained and experienced women in a range of sectors who can become business leaders will also strengthen their ability to influence important decisions about the continent and indeed the globe. This shall result in women being better informed and having increased confidence and solidarity in their rights and responsibilities to drive an inclusive growth agenda in Africa.

WAA Forum Programme highlights also include:

  • Side events on Leadership, Girls Education and Child Marriage, Food Systems and Nutrition
  • Women Entrepreneurship Development, and Preferential Procurement;
  • Co-Create breakfast sessions to allow for further sharing of ideas and deepening of connections for partnership and collaborations on issues such innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and wellness
  • The launch of a book entitled Women Creating Wealth, featuring the stories of female entrepreneurs from across Africa.

The programme will convene six industry tracks including women in agribusiness, extractives and energy, services and trade, technology, women’s Financial Inclusion as well as women in media, design and the arts.

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