This document represents the thematic session on Driving Development in Africa Through Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment was chaired and moderated by Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations evelopment Programme. It consisted of dialogue with panelists including Rwanda President Paul Kagame; Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; Malawi President Joyce Banda; African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma; Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida; United Nations Population Fund Executive Director Babatunde Osetimehin; and UN Women Acting Executive Director Lakshmi Puri. The session also benefitted from remarks by Mayor of Yokohama Fumiko Hayashi and World Food Programme Regional Director for West Africa Denise Brown, as well as other discussants including senior government ministers and officials and civil society members who volunteered comments from the floor. The purpose of the session was to discuss how closing gender equality gaps is critical to addressing Africa's key development challenges and to identify priority actions for the coming years. The session began with remarks from President Kagame, who has ensured that women are at the center of Rwanda's development agenda. He said that gender equality "is not just a moral issue, it is a rights issue and a shared responsibility that concerns every member of our society."
- Countries that eliminate gender disparities in education will accelerate progress towards eliminating hunger and will improve child and maternal health.
- What is needed now is implementation of the commitments, as well as dedicated budgeting that supports the rights and needs of women and girls.
- Driving progress in Africa requires investments in women's economic empowerment
- When a woman has more income, she is not only materially better off, but also her children's health and education will benefit.
- Women should also be able to access sexual and reproductive health services.
- Where women can own and control land and get equal access to resources, credit, and agricultural extension services, their contribution to production and food security grows.
- Responses to conflict and disaster need to include specific and targeted interventions to address women's security and needs.