Africa Day 2015: ‘Africa Rising’ goes from myth to reality with Mauritius as its gateway
Mauritius celebrated Africa Day on 25 May 2015 by placing women power in the forefront and identifying it as a pillar for development; besides, this day also marked the creation of African Union’s predecessor agency which was a crucial development agency for Africa’s myriad economies. (Image:pehub.com )
On the occasion of Africa Day which was celebrated yesterday, 25 May 2015, Mauritius chose to highlight the power of women, and what more can be done to bring it to the forefront.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Etienne Sinatambou, noted that, over the years, the condition of women in Africa has certainly improved. There has been a rise in female life expectancy, more girls are going to school, more women are entering the paid workforce and many African countries have introduced laws to protect women’s rights.
However, there is still more to be done in terms of the participation of women in decision making, addressing gender-based violence, and respecting the rights of women in the social, economic and political domains.
This gender-sensitive speech by the Mauritian Minister on the occasion of Africa Day 2015 served to underline the fact that women are indeed the pillars of a successful development process. The theme for this year, “2015 Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”, is thus timely, as it gives gender mainstreaming a renewed momentum to harness political leadership and overcome gaps and challenges pertaining to gender disparities.
Sinatambou outlined that a fundamental area where women’s participation is most meaningful is decision-making over peace and security, both during and after peace negotiations. Hence, while implementing the flagship project of Africa Agenda 2063 on the silencing of guns by 2020, the participation of women and girls in all peace and security processes and structures will be strongly encouraged.
In Mauritius, he noted that women are at the heart of development with various legislations pertaining to women’s rights having been enacted and policy programs having been devised to upliftthe status of Mauritian women. Hence, Africa Agenda 2063 translates “Africa Rising”from myth to reality and gender mainstreaming will no more remain a mere rhetoric.
Besides, May 25 also marks the founding of the African Union’s predecessor agency in 1963, which has always claimed that economic development was crucial to the development of African’s myriad economies. It may be noted that Mauritius joined the OAU in August 1968.
In a related context, on the occasion of Africa Day, Gerard Sanspeur, chairman of the Board of Investment Mauritius, told Anadolu Agency that opening its economy is one reason why the country has risen in prominence and Mauritius was almost entirely dependent on tourism five years ago.
Sanspeur believes that Mauritius is positioned as a business and investment gateway to access the emerging economic power which is Africa.
“Risks faced by investors in African countries are higher than in other regions of the world.” Sanspeur noted, “and this is where Mauritius has cut its strategic role in risk mitigation, since it is a politically stable, well-regulated and business-friendly international business platform.
Finally, as the African Union celebrates its anniversary, eyes could be turning to one of its smallest members.