Former Minister of Tourism Sylvia Masebo says African leaders must stop looking at women as “statistical guinea pigs” but as critical tools for empowerment and economic emancipation.
And Masebo has called for close collaboration of all relevant UN wildlife monitoring bodies and international organisations to arrest the dwindling numbers of wildlife on the African continent.
Speaking during her solidarity address at the 5th session of the 4th Parliament of the Pan African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa yesterday, Masebo said nations that prioritized women empowerment programmes reaped quicker economic progress than those that dragged their feet.
She said Women economic participation was a quicker vehicle to economic progress because it carried along with it entire family units that translated into the empowerment of entire communities, especially in Africa’s rural setups.
“Mr President, it is indisputably and abundantly clear that nations that have prioritized women empowerment processes and programmes have reaped quicker economic progress than those that drag their feet. Women economic participation is a wider and quicker vehicle as it carries along with it entire family units that translates into the empowerment of entire communities, especially in Africa’s rural setups. It is often said, if you empower one woman, you empower an entire village. The PAP must seek to ensure that African governments recognise the critical role women and girl children play in our people’s traditional family extended systems. We must therefore, stop looking at women as statistical guinea pigs for laboratory research and unending economic experiments,” Masebo said.
“Let’s instead get on the hard ground and engage them on heart to heart fellowships, and in that way we will identify them as special and critical tools for empowerment and economic emancipation. Among their immediate needs are affordable housing, access to education that will help them appreciate safe motherhood, reproductive health and eventual eradication of poverty. I am reminded of the success story of the Nation of Rwanda that has recognised the sanctity of education of Women and the Youth and has further availed these groups with access to the technological power of the internet. The result is that more and more women have now entered the ranks of small scale entrepreneurs as more and more of them qualify to borrow from banks. These small businesses have potential to grow into big enterprises that in turn will help grow the wealth of the Nation.”
And Masebo, who is now a UPND member, said there was need for close collaboration of all relevant UN wildlife monitoring bodies and international organisations to arrest the dwindling numbers of wildlife in the African continent.
“Mr President, allow me to address the issue of our rich African wildlife. The Committee responsible for tourism must focus on sustained and concerted efforts in addressing the challenges of commercial poachers that have invaded our wildlife parks around Africa. Here I am not referring to small scale poachers that kill for the pot, but well organised and well coordinated international cartels that work in close collaboration with corrupt government officers who have dubiously granted them huge hunting concessions and licences to kill for massive international trade. If Africa does not wake up to a full realisation of the dwindling numbers of our wildlife, this current generation will leave nothing for its children,” she said.
“The evil of commercial poaching must be raised to the same levels of international terrorism and climate change and Africa must aggressively lead the way in this fight, because approximately over 70% of the World’s wildlife is found on our continent. I therefore call upon the PAP to work in close collaboration with relevant UN wildlife monitoring bodies and other international organizations, NGO’s and wildlife watchdogs, but most importantly, with local populations.”
Meanwhile, Masebo also noted that there was need to aggressively address certain matters that required change of attitude and behaviour patterns in fighting climate change.
“In redrawing our destiny and reclaiming our history, let us be reminded of what drove and inspired our founding Fathers towards their goals. Oppression, colonisation, apartheid and slavery gave way to the painful contractions and eventual birth pangs of freedom and subsequently, to new governors of our nations through our own choices. It is therefore, the duty of this distinguished House to teach our people to demand for nothing less than true democracy, transparency, accountability, full civil liberties and economic development from their new rulers,” said Masebo.
“It is such a coincidence that the 5th Ordinary Session of the 4th Parliament of the PAP is being held in the realm of time of the severe unprecedented and devastating hurricanes in the Western hemisphere, that have literally razed down and wiped out entire cities in some cases, our prayers and thoughts should go out to the citizens of those countries. Climate change is not ‘fake news’ to borrow a rather infamous term from one leader. It is a stark reality that calls us to urgent duty by not only seeking answers, but by also aggressively addressing certain matters that require change of attitudes and behaviour patterns in the way we handle our planet.”
Masebo was invited by the Pan African parliament as its special guest to deliver a solidarity statement to the assembly yesterday morning in Midrand.
The 5th session of the Pan African Parliament was graced by President of the Pan African Parliament Roger Nkodo Dang.