Kigali, 05 July 2011

President Kagame today officially opened the East African conference on the role of women in socio-economic development and women in business at Kigali Serena Hotel. In his address, President Kagame thanked the conference organizers for choosing Kigali as the venue for discussions aimed at strengthening the role of women in socio-economic development and business with the East African Community: “We all know that while women juggle multiple crucial roles in our society, they retain our region’s most poor and vulnerable. Despite many good efforts, women remain on the fringe of our formal economies. The question that begs an urgent answer is this: How can we progress on this critical issue as fast and as effectively as possible?”


President Kagame warned that women productivity in Africa is staggering, citing that 70-80% women constitute the total agricultural force, which is a third of the manufacturing labor force and a third of the micro and small scale enterprises business population. “Ironically, women still struggle with low incomes, unemployment, unequal access to financial resources and legal obstacles that impede them from maximizing their full potential as entrepreneurs. It is clear therefore, that the East African Community needs to properly harness this energy and talent as an important contribution to the region’s socio-economic transformation.”

The East African Community Secretary General, Dr. Richard Sezibera said:”under your leadership, Rwanda has become a model of gender equality, women empowerment and in East Africa and the world.”

President Kagame pointed out that it is important that prejudices that remain invisible barriers for women should be challenged. In conclusion, President Kagame said: “Leaders make things happen, Institutions make them last but when women are involved, both happen at the same time.”

Listen to President Kagame’s speech: