Tendai Rupapa recently in NEW YORK, USA
The FIRST Ladies play a key role in preserving the value chain of girls, women, and economic empowerment that men destroy through early marriage and gender-based violence.
This was stated by the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinvumi Adesina, as she addressed a conference of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OCLAD) and its partners on the sidelines of the 74th Plenary Session of the General Assembly. United Nations (UNGA).
First Lady Ausilia Mnangagwa, who is passionate about women's empowerment, is the vice president of OCLAD.
Amai Mnangagwa has traveled all over the country, implementing projects to empower women and young girls, especially those in marginalized communities.
She also noted and expressed concern about the country's uncontrolled marital children and called on stakeholders to find practical solutions.
The head of AfDB, whose bank delivers funds to women in partnership with OCLAD, has denied the rise in child marriages across Africa.
"Across Africa, 125 million girls and young women today are married before the age of 18. One in 10 girls is married before their birthday.
"They miss out on education and start the cycle of addiction and weakness because they are subordinate, not empowered and it affects them and their children. They become trapped during a lifetime of limiting their potential and the evil cycle continues, "he said.
Education, Dr. Adesina noted, was the best antidote against child marriage.
“The longer a girl child stays at school, the greater her chances of economic achievement in life just like your dear first ladies. We must put an end to all forms of child marriage and here are the men – marrying our own spouses and leaving our girls alone.
"To be clear, women run Africa and if you want to see it, go to the farm and you will notice that over 75 percent of the workers are women. Go to any market, the majority of traders are women, yet they are marginalized when it comes to finance to grow their businesses. There is a $ 42 billion financial gap between men and women. "
Dr Adesina said women find it harder to access financing, although there is evidence that they were more confident when it comes to debt repayment.
The financial system in Africa, the AFDB president noted, was biased towards women and children and that is why his bank launched Affirmative Action for Women in Africa, called AJAVA.
"Ajawa is setting up a $ 300 million re-shelling fund to free women loans from all financial institutions in Africa. It will help raise $ 3 billion directly for women businesses on the continent. AFAWA has just received $ 16 billion from a US government initiative and also from the World Bank, and I am also pleased to inform you that at the G7 meeting in France, President (Emmanuel) Macron joined African heads of state to rally for AHAVA $ 251 million. AFAWA will provide technical assistance for women's business activities, prepare bank plans and also help financial institutions make their systems friendly to women and their businesses. Ajawa will be a systematic way to transform how financial institutions handle women. "
Dr Adesina said his bank would establish an AFAWA index, which would rank and rank all African financial institutions in Africa based on their volume of women's loans, interest rates they charge and their impact on women.