By lifting women, economies can soar

Recently, the UN Women Representative in Tanzania, Ms Hodan Addou, commended the government for realizing numerous achievements on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the implementation of the second FYDP 2015/16 -2020/21.

She equally congratulated the government for the development FYDPIII which includes comprehensive strategies that seeks to accelerate growth in ways that are both gender inclusive and sustainable.

According to her, the country’s five-year development plans is pivotal to the realization of the Tanzania Development Vision 2025, with aspirations of achieving a semi-industrialized economy and middle-income status with a high level of human development and improved livelihoods for all Tanzanians.

“A transformative and sustainable development agenda cannot be achieved without gender equality, and it is through national plans, policies, institutions, and budgets, that governments can include clearly outlined commitments that respond to women and girls’ unique needs and priorities,” She noted.

According to available data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the population projection for 2017 has women making up 51.3 percent of the national population of 51.5 million, and women also represent the majority of the country’s workforce.

That is why President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan recently indicated that the inclusion of women is among crucial factors to unlock the economic potential of the African region and world at large.

President Samia said this during the African Women Leader Network’s (AWLN) fourth Intergenerational Retreat held in Zanzibar recently, where issues like safeguarding meaningful participation and equal rights coupled with resources for women and girls as key to make greater progress were discussed.

“We need to transform gender roles and power relations while breaking the barriers for women meaningful participation at all levels of leadership and decision making spheres…I am trying very hard to do that,” said President Samia.

She hinted that the time for women to be left at home to handle only things in the home was outdated, giving an example of remarkable progress recorded in the country, including the witnessing of women voting and making decisions for the country.

According to statistics, the number of women making decisions in various countries is almost half in many African countries, where in Tanzania female Members of Parliament have increased from 21 percent (2005) to 37 percent in 2022.

This includes 9 cabinet ministers, maintaining that Tanzania is on course in making progress, where the number of judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal has also scaled up to 47 percent as well as primary and district courts from 34 percent (2005) to 39 percent (2022).

The number of female envoys on the other hand has increased from three percent in 2005 to 21 percent in 2022, whereby the number of regional commissioners have increased from 10 to 23 percent and District Commissioners from 19 to 25 percent.

“The numbers speak for themselves, which indicates that we can no longer overlook the critical role women play in the economies…women have proven time and time again that they are capable,” said the President.

As Tanzania is championing the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights, she expressed commitment to ensure young women are supported in the efforts to spur development in the continent.

“The Generation Equality forum commitments are essential in attaining gender equality and economic empowerment of women. “Gender equality and empowerment of women are priorities to gender responsive public and private social services, including investing in community and early childhood development to help women become more productive,” added the President.

She outlined some of the initiatives to support the endeavor, including promoting decent work for women both in the formal and informal economy.

Through this, she said the country has also established 3098 women empowerment platforms at village and regional level as an important part to attain the aspiration, hinting that the goal was to establish a national level platform.

“As women account for 70 percent of informal cross border trade in Africa, it is my wish to see women are well positioned to tap into regional export destinations and use the markets as a stepping stone to overseas markets. We have already started doing it but we need to expand to make it a larger business.

“The African free trade area has created a market of 1.3 billion people across Africa, accounting for a combined gross domestic product of US dollar 3.4 trillion,” she further said.

According to the World Bank, the successful implementation of the AfCTA has a potential of lifting up the 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty and increasing the incomes of 68 million Africans who live under 5.5 dollars a day, the majority of which are women and youth.

“It is my hope that women will benefit from this huge market… young women are not only the future, they are the present, holding the key to practical solutions and driving progress,” concluded the President.

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