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Sierra Leone News: 50MAWSP launches in Salone

Members of the high table including Fatima Bio (third left) and Finda Koroma

The “50 Million African Women Speak Platform” project (50MAWSP) was officially launched yesterday Wednesday, 8 January 2019 by First Lady Fatima Bio at the Bintumani Hotel in consonance with the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Finda Koroma. During the launch, the First Lady said she was delighted that this project is now in Sierra Leone. She said ECOWAS is here to support women and not to help in any crisis. She invited all the women in business to join the 50MAWSP so that they can bring more respect to the women and they will have a voice in the development process. “I want to thank all the women organizations that are present as Sierra Leone has the opportunity to have the vice president of ECOWAS and a president that is very concerned about women and children in the country. I am launching this project and I believe that it is an opportunity for women in business and those that have vision to take this opportunity to be part of the network across West Africa.” She said ECOWAS is here to put smile on the faces of Sierra Leoneans rather than wipe out the tears of the people. She said she is pleading to all to support another woman especially in ICT as they lack the knowledge. “This project if successful will take many women out of poverty and it will bring more respect to the women.” The vice president of ECOWAS, Finda Koroma, said following Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Benin and Cape Verde, Sierra Leone becomes the 10th country to launch and officially commit to the implementation of this initiative to facilitate the empowerment of women and girls through the creation of a virtual platform for networking and information-sharing to improve their ability to access financial and non-financial information. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs very much for her commitment to women. “At this juncture, I would like to invite the First Lady, leading women in the Government of Sierra Leone and in the Parliament as well as all Distinguished Women in Sierra Leone from all walks of life, to join the ECOWAS Commission in the mobilization of all resources, both technical and financial, that will be needed to make available the necessary data on Sierra Leone on this Platform in order to project this country as a place where women and girls can access the requisite information needed to create and finance their businesses. “ This project she said will bring us together today, and is in line with the ECOWAS Gender Program that is fully aligned with the ECOWAS Gender Policy, which was adopted in December 2004 by the Authority of Heads of State and Government. “This project falls within the framework of Article 15 of Chapter 5 of the Additional Act on Equal rights for Women and Men for Sustainable Development in the ECOWAS sub-region in May, 2015, which calls on Member States to adopt all legislative and regulatory measures to ensure women’s equal access to all economic and gainful opportunities in the areas of trade and entrepreneurship, including access to public procurement; and to take into account their contribution in the formal and informal sectors. This Initiative therefore comes to crown all our efforts for the empowerment of women in West Africa and in this beautiful country.” “The “50 Million African Women Speak Platform” Project is an initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the East African and Southern Africa Common Market, (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC). The project aims to improve women’s ability to access financial and non-financial information, to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and access to business financing opportunities, builds networks and establishes partnership relationships with people and structures that can help them grow and supports their businesses.” This initiative the ECOWAS vice president said is therefore in line with the United Nations SDGs, the African Union Agenda 2063 and the ECOWAS Vision 2020, which make women’s empowerment and gender equity, priorities for sustainable human development. “The challenge ahead is enormous and you have been entrusted with the mission to make Sierra Leone an attractive destination and a reference point in the field of women’s entrepreneurship and cyber business on this Platform. I remain convinced that you will spare no effort to achieve this objective.

AT//1/19

Thursday January 10, 2019.

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