African women should be empowered with technology to become financially secure and independent, South Africa’s leader tells G7

African women should be given the tools they need to become financially secure and independent, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated on Wednesday.

“By giving women the tools to become financially secure and independent, we are investing in a society in which their rights to dignity, security and financial empowerment is secured.

“We must enable women to take advantage of technological advances to start their own businesses, to trade and to seek employment,” Mr. Ramaphosa said in remarks at the High Level virtual Panel G7 Partnership for African Women’s Financial Inclusion.

Cyril Ramaphosa addresses 3rd Anniversary Memorial of the late Nelson Mandela on December 5, 2016, (Photo GCIS) 
Cyril Ramaphosa addresses 3rd Anniversary Memorial of the late Nelson Mandela on December 5, 2016, (Photo GCIS)

The South African leader argued that the coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic effect on economic activity on the continent and around the world and its impacts will be hardest felt by women, many of whom are employed in the informal sector.

Read his full remarks below

As South Africa and as Chair of the African Union we fully support the G7 Partnership for Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa. 

By giving women the tools to become financially secure and independent, we are investing in a society in which their rights to dignity, security and financial empowerment is secured.

We must enable women to take advantage of technological advances to start their own businesses, to trade and to seek employment. 

The coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic effect on economic activity on the continent and around the world. Its impacts will be hardest felt by women, many of whom are employed in the informal sector.

Women must have greater access to affordable financial services. 

They must have access to working capital, credit lines, insurance and to digital tools such as mobile banking platforms. 

Governments must invest in the financial education of women and girls. 

In support of greater economic and financial inclusion, South Africa has made a commitment of 500,000 USD to the African Women Impact Fund, which seeks to empower women financial leaders. 

We have also announced that 40% of all public procurement will be reserved for women-owned businesses and are working with AU member states to develop similar policy guidelines across the continent.

We believe that a digitally-enabled economy – with a strong emphasis on gender equality – has the potential to be transformative, fair, sustainable and competitive. 

Africa continues to develop its ICT infrastructure to advance greater access to technology. 

Through digital platforms, a greater number of women will have access to funding and online banking, fulfilling a need that traditional banking services are unable to meet.

Unless women are brought into the mainstream of the economy they will continue to bear the brunt of exclusion and marginalisation and be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

A nation that empowers women is a strong and sustainable nation.

It is our wish that world leaders use this occasion to reaffirm their commitment to the Partnership for Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa. 

I thank you.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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