Our Executive Director, Ms. Abisola Ahmed was a Nigerian Delegate at the COWAP SUMMIT in Abuja, Nigeria.
The Summit was between 21st and 22nd April, 2018 at the Ladi Kwali Conference Centre, Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria.
The Summit is an annual meeting of Wives of Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Influential African Women and upcoming Women Leaders.
Delegates from more than twenty three (23) African countries numbering approximately one-thousand, six hundred and seventy (1670) attended the maiden edition of the African Women Summit for Development. The summit was a project of “Engage Educate Empower Initiative”, a Nigerian Based Non Governmental Organization.
Among the participants were
1) Her Excellency, The First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria represented by Mrs Gimba Dogara Wife of the Speaker of The House of Representatives,
2) The Vice President of Liberia, Her Excellency, Chief Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor,
3) Her Excellency, Former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda and Chairperson of the Coalition and Advisory Board,
4) Her Excellency, Wife of Executive Governor of Bauchi State, Barr. Aisha M. A. Abubakar,
5) Prof. PLO Lumumba (COWAP Global Ambassador) from Kenya, Immediate Past President of the Kenya Law School and COWAP Global Ambassador,
6) Her Excellency, Ambassador Dr. Aisha Abubakar Audu, Deputy Head of Mission to UN, World United Commission,
7) Former First Lady, Kogi State,
8) Dr Oluwatosin Dokpesi, Managing Director, African Independent Television,
9) Diplomats and Members of International Community.
• The countries represented at the Summit include Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, The Gambia, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, South Sudan, The Kingdom of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Ethiopia, Cote’dívoire , Egypt, France, United Kingdom, United State .
The theme of the Summit was “Using Innovative Technology To Solve Africa’s Development Challenges” and the panel sub-themes were:
1. Justice and Peace.
2. The role of the media in sustaining peace and development in Africa’s Girl Child Education.
3. End poverty and End Hunger.
The overall objective of the summit was to:
• Engage African first ladies (past and present) with development actors and practitioners in finding concrete solutions to key priority development problems in Africa through technology.
• Map best practices and lessons learned in using innovative technologies to solve developmental problems in one of the four thematic areas listed above.
• Discuss what technology tools could be used to enhance SDGs and AU 2063 agenda.
• Recognize the efforts of African innovators with creative ideas in solving development issues through technology.
Over the two-day period, the summit participants working in three plenary sessions and break-out sessions noted that:
• Technology is proven more effective in helping to solve key development challenges in Africa. Across the continent, scientists, engineers, civil society, entrepreneurs and even governments are using the needs and priorities of their communities to innovate in order to solve problems and drive sustainable growth.
• Significant challenges remain, including access to training and funding, and responsive public policy and regulation. In most cases, lack of access to such information creates a barrier for women in utilizing available technological and financial resources in combating the enormous challenges encountered in realising the sustainable development goals.
• Deleting political and ethical sensitivities to navigate – how much data transparency and protection is required, and how to make technology culturally appropriate to solve and tackle issues inhibiting against the smooth realization of the developmental goals.
• Technology is genuinely empowering by having a collaborative design process, that will factor in different localized challenges and proffering time-line solutions, recognising the contribution made by small-scale local activities, and has a particular emphasis on delivery of sustainable development at all scales.
• It was agreed that within Africa, there are countries making significant strides towards the achievement of a developmental state e.g. Rwanda, Botswana and Mauritius. Other African countries might wish to learn lessons of what and how those countries made the progress with special focus on the contribution made by women.
It was a great platform to meet and network with great African Women Leaders and discuss issues affecting the development of our dear continent, Africa. Problems were not only discussed, sustainable solutions were also proferred. It was a wonderful, mind shifting event.