Women must be at the forefront in the fight against corruption and misuse of public funds, the former President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire has told Speakers of National Legislative Assemblies.
Sr. Masire, who was speaking at the start of the 7th Annual Conference of Speakers of African Parliaments said, “Women have irrepressible power to endure problems and must use that power to put Africa on the path to social transformation and development.”
The Conference under the theme: ‘2015; The year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Agenda 2063’ is being held at the Pan African Parliament headquarters in Midrand, South Africa, August 6 – 7, 2015.
Sir Masire was President of Botswana between 1980 – 1998 and is a member of the Forum for former Heads of State and Government (Africa Forum) and has led peace missions to a number of African countries.
Masire said it was generally accepted that Africa has a large quantity of natural resources and that it needed to work towards natural resources governance for sustainable development.
“We need optimal utilization of our resources for the benefit of our people. With our abundant natural resources and viable governance structures, we could mine ourselves out of poverty,” he said, adding, “Women must be in the forefront of the efforts to curb unscrupulous exploitation of our natural resources.”
He urged Africans to give women the opportunity to bring change to the continent and the world considering that they are the “custodian of peace, security and stability as they nourish life and wellbeing.”
The President of the Pan African Parliament, Hon. Roger Nkodo, said parliamentarians should recognize their role in creating supportive democratic policies and legal frameworks that will ensure women’s active participation in the governance process.
Hon. Nkodo said that women needed to benefit from education and should have access to capital and positions of power if the continent is to benefit from their contribution towards its development.