H.E. Mrs. Amira Elfadil Mohamed, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission

Today, the African Union Commission joins the world to commemorate International ‎Women’s Day in support of the invaluable contribution of powerful women serving in different leadership capacities in Africa, who are committed ‎to ensuring that women and girls participate fully in economic activities, political affairs ‎and social endeavours required for equitable access to healthcare and strong health ‎systems in Africa.

The African Union Commission has dedicated a great deal of interest and concern to ‎‎‎health equity and women leadership in Africa. The Africa Health Strategy (2016 – 2030) ‎‎‎and the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB, and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030 ‎‎‎serve as a testament to these key concerns as both policy frameworks prioritise ‎‎‎investment in health, poverty reduction, economic development, and the advancement ‎‎‎of women’s rights and equality. ‎The AU Agenda  2063 and other gender-related ‎‏strategic frameworks and treaties formulated by the African Union, explicitly call for ‎‏ ‏‎“full ‎gender equality in all spheres of life” including socio-economic development ‎agendas ‎in Africa.‎

health equity, in itself, is only achieved when every ‎person has the opportunity to attain ‎his or her full health potential, and no one is ‎‎‎disadvantaged from achieving this ‎potential because of social position or other socially ‎‎determined circumstances. ‎Empowering women to lead health systems strengthening ‎has been identified as a ‎critical driver to achieving health equity. ‎‏ ‏

As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2021 under the theme: “Women in ‎leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” the Commission applauds ‎how women in AU Member States have stood at the ‎frontline of the battle with COVID-‎‎19 as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, ‎community organizers and as some ‎of the most exemplary and effective national ‎leaders in combating the pandemic. ‎Women leaders and women’s organizations have ‎demonstrated their ‎skills, knowledge, ‎and networks to effectively lead in COVID-19 ‎response ‎and recovery efforts. ‎

Today, there is more acceptance than ever before ‎that ‎women bring different ‎experiences, perspectives, and skills to the ‎table and make ‎irreplaceable contributions ‎to decisions, policies, and ‎laws that work better for all. ‎‏ The contribution of women is ‏crucial in ‏promoting good health in Africa.‎ I encourage all partners and AU Member States to continue to empower and engage ‎‎women constructively and equally for their support to improve primary health care ‎‎strategies and implement health policies aimed at reducing health inequities. ‎

In conclusion, I reiterate that the Commission recognizes that we are making great ‎progress collectively towards empowering the women in Africa to lead and raise their ‎voice for the issues that matter such as equity and quality healthcare. The Commission ‎will continue to uplift women in leadership, and prepare young women for leadership as ‎we all strive for better quality of life, prosperity and wellbeing for all in Africa.‎

I thank you