The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged the 17 member states of the African Union, to ratify the 2003 Maputo Protocol, which is the “Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.”
As co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates on the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and as the African Union Gender Champion, the President stated that SDG 5, which defines the goal of gender equality and full female empowerment, is at the heart of the structure of the SDGs.
“We do ourselves and future generations a great disservice if we leave women out of the agenda for development,” he said.
Whilst acknowledging the cultural and religious sensibilities of some to the teachings of the Maputo Protocol, President Akufo-Addo stated that “having regard to the unfolding nature of the 21st century, with its accent on gender equality and the promotion of women’s rights as central to prospects for progress and prosperity, I would, respectfully, entreat the 17 countries on the continent, which are yet to ratify the Protocol, to do so by the year 2020, the target date set by the AU.”
The President made this known on Monday, 29th January 2018, when he opened a forum on the discussion of the Maputo Protocol, which took place on the sidelines of the ongoing African Union Summit, which is being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that the Maputo Protocol “is the blueprint for empowering our women and young girls, who constitute 51% of Africa’s population. In the words of my illustrious compatriot, Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary-General: ‘Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance’.”
He, therefore, invited decision-makers from all sectors of life on the continent to support the Maputo Protocol.
“I invite you all to become champions of women’s rights, and agents of change, in and out of your respective borders. Let us remind ourselves that inequality has an unbearable impact and cost on our economy, society and the development of our nations. Today, I join the millions of people around the world in urging us all to stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality in Africa,” he added.