Luanda — MP Ruth Mendes Monday defended the need for women parliamentarians to draft laws that can contribute to their empowerment as well as speedup and ensure the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
This was during a roundtable held under the theme “Sharing the wisdom and strength of women for peace building and accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”.
Ruth Mendes emphasised that the focus on women’s empowerment will contribute to improving the conditions of the more than 70% of women working in cross-border trade.
The chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Defence, National Security, Internal Order, Former Combatants and Veterans of the Homeland, acknowledged that cross-border trade is indeed a reality, citing the example of Luvo, Santa Clara and some trade in eastern Angola.
“The issue of cross-border trade is now beginning to emerge with the free market that Angola has joined. But when it comes to policies aimed at women who practice cross-border trade, there is still no concrete policy regarding the work that should be done with them,” she said.
The MP said that gender equality is a process that in recent times has begun to gain more space, with the appearance of women in decision-making bodies.
The leader of the Women Parliamentarians group Teresa da Silva Neto said, in the context of gender policy, there have been several progress in favour of the protection of African women, with emphasis on the Maputo protocol, adopted in 2013 by the African Union.
She also cited the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa and the Protocol on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, adopted in 2016.
“Despite these advances, the advancement of African women still faces several challenges and they are still subjected to various types of discrimination,” she said.
According to her, GMP hopes to create a platform for discussions and reflection on the heights already achieved by women in Africa, and Angola in particular.
The round table marks African Women’s Day, get to know the women working on the empowerment of women in Angola and Africa, reflect on existing policies and how they can be enriched in favour of African women.
Evidence suggests that AfCFTA represents a huge opportunity for African countries to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty and to increase the incomes of another 68 million living on less than $5.50 a day.
With the implementation of the AfCFTA, trade facilitation measures that cut red tape and simplify customs procedures would lead to about $300 million of the $450 million in potential income gains.
The implementation of the AfCFTA would contribute to setting in motion the many deep reforms needed to enhance long-term growth in African countries.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will create the world’s largest free trade area measured by the number of participating countries. The pact connects 1.3 billion people in 55 countries with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) value of USD 3.4 trillion.