MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN 2014/15
X AND Y FACTOR | Patron
Africa's Time is Now
That the 24th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) has taken heed and declared 2015 as the Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063 could not have come at a more opportune time. As the playground for investors and as the fastest growing economic region in the world, we believe that it’s not only Africa’s time but it is the time for Africa’s women to take their rightful place at the seat of African business and politics.
The Heads of State and Government adopted a number of key decisions with a view to enhancing the socio-economic and political development of the continent, notably in the areas of education, health, agriculture, trade, women and youth development. The question that then arises is: how do we capitalise on such initiatives as declared by the AU in order to achieve the most for the empowerment of women on the continent. There are several ways in which this can be done and all of them have the common building block: capacity building. For ages
women have been relegated to being second class citizens in business, government and elsewhere. Capacity building should start at the grassroots level where we encourage our young girls and women to tread down
the untrodden path. For instance, in the maritime sector, which is a whole new economy on its own and is bursting at the seams with potential, we can encourage our young females to take up careers in maritime law, marine engineering or even become seafarers.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority and other like-minded institutions have realised that the time for transformation is now. As a result, wheels have started rolling in order to realise the vision that the Authority, the respective governments and, indeed, the continent at large are looking forward to realise. For its part, SAMSA introduced women into the forefront through training and employment in technical and managerial roles in the ports' marine businesses in addition to the various national (South African) maritime career awareness programmes that were launched and conducted over the last few years. The battle is not nearly won yet, but we have the confidence that we have laid a very solid foundation on which Africa and the world can build on. The torch bearers are, without a doubt, the women; and the young women, of the motherland whose destiny, and that of the continent, lies in their hands. As we steadily march towards the Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development, I implore everyone to live by the following words said by the late Nelson Mandela (1918-2013): “Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression… Our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child.”