In the spirit of this year’s AU theme of empowering women, an awards banquet was held to further the organisation’s Agenda 2063.
Among the notable awardees present were South African freedom stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Graca Machel, former President of Malawi Dr. Joyce Banda, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Kenya’s former first lady Ngina Kenyatta who were all awarded under the Legends category.
Minister of International Relations, Maite Nkoane-Mashabane said, when a country is led by women its success is inevitable. She hailed the beginning of a new frontier where women’s leadership is not only celebrated but is mandated.
Receiving her award, Machel said, “Standing here accepting this award makes me realise that there is so much still to be done, we have not done enough.”
Madikizela-Mandela said, “It feels good to be recognised by one of your own.” While she has received many other awards, she was proud to be part of a generation that recognises the economic empowerment of women.
NEPAD, the implementation wing of the AU, has collaborated with the Spanish Fund that is aimed at financing small projects for women on the African continent. An amount of 8.2 million pounds has already been poured into these initiatives which are mainly agricultural.
The fund contributes to poverty eradication and economic empowerment of women by supporting financial and technical projects.