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Seychelles Recognised for Achievements in Advancing the Economic Rights of Women at AU Kigali Summit

21.07.2016

Seychelles has been awarded the African Gender Scorecard Award for progress made in ‘Economic Rights’ for women. 

The monitoring and accountability tool launched by the African Union in 2015 is aimed at advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment on the African continent through annual evaluations and subsequent recognition for national progress in these areas. 

The 2016 Award focused on three sectors, namely Political and Civil Rights, Social Rights, and Economic Rights, the latter of which Seychelles was recognised for. 

“This wonderful initiative is very welcomed by Seychelles as we address the disparities that exist for African Women across the continent, especially in light of this years AU theme on Woman’s Rights and Human Right’s,” said the Head of the Seychelles Delegation to the 27th Assembly of the African Union, Mr Barry Faure. 

“Seychelles for one, would never be where we are today without our women. Since our independence 40 years ago, the disparity between men and women has been greatly reduced and today men and women enjoy a level playing field. However, we do not want to stagnate at the level that we have reached; we have room to improve further.” 

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs also added that the Gender Secretariat within the Ministry of Social Affairs has embarked on various activities not only to promote the rights of women but also to educate the women themselves on their rights: 

“We anticipate the imminent launch of our first National Gender Policy; a document which will give new impetus to the efforts being undertaken towards the empowerment of women.” 

The inaugural continental Gender Scorecard was introduced at the 25th ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union held in Sandton, Johannesburg from 14th to 15th June 2015, which was gathered under the theme ‘Women’s empowerment for the realisation of Agenda 2063’. 

The 2015 AU Gender Scorecard was a joint collaboration between the AU Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). 

During this biannual Summit held in Kigali Rwanda from the 13th to 18th July, one of the key decisions of Heads of State to emerge was a decision to introduce a 0.2% tax on eligible import goods in an effort to raise much needed financial resources to enable the African Union to become self-sufficient and less reliant on external funding from non-African partners. 

The Secretary of State welcomed this important initiative and said that we looked forward to an imminent gathering of African Finance Ministers to thoroughly discuss the modalities and implications of this new tax. 

The Kigali Summit however failed to elect a new Commission when the election process stalled at the first vote for a new Chairperson of the Commission. The Seychelles delegation had put forward a Seychellois, Mr Antoine-Marie Moustache, as a candidate for the post of Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture. The process has now been re-opened for new candidates with elections due to be held during the January Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

Secretary of State Faure headed the Seychelles delegation to the Assembly, as well as the 29th Executive Council and was accompanied by the Permanent Representative to the African Union and Resident Ambassador in Addis Ababa, Mr Joseph Nourrice, Resident Seychelles Ambassador in Pretoria, Mr Claude Morel, and Principal Counsellor in the Seychelles Embassy in Addis Ababa, Mrs Amanda Bernstein.

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