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Lack of access to finance hinders women in Agriculture

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf chairs Empowering Women in Agriculture (EWA) Panel Discussion.Photo Credit: EXECUTIVE MANSION

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says the lack of access to finance for women in agriculture remains a constraint that must be addressed if women are to become more productive in Africa’s agricultural transformation.

A dispatch from Kigali says President Sirleaf made the statement when she chaired a high level breakfast forum on Empowering Women in Agriculture or EWA initiative in Kigali on Saturday, July 16. Mrs. Sirleaf stressed the need for African leaders to support the initiative, adding “EWA has the potential of lifting women farmers out of poverty through enhancement of their productivity”. She emphasized that the implementation of the EWA initiative will integrate women farmer’s interest into ongoing programs of agricultural transformation in Africa.

Also speaking, Senegalese President Macky Sall called for more support for projects, which give women opportunities to expand in agriculture. He said not enough resources are being directed towards buttressing the efforts of African women in the areas of business and governance – a situation, he said, was depriving African economies of potential spin-off benefits. The Co-Chairman of the EWA Initiative and President of Rwanda, Paul Kigame, said women empowerment in all spheres is tied to rapid and effective national development and growth. 

In a statement delivered on his behalf by Rwandan Agriculture Minister Dr. Geraldine Mukeshimana, the Rwandan President called on African leaders to integrate women issues into the mainstream of all sectors society.

For his part, the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Adesina, promised more support from the bank for the EWA Initiative in keeping with its own policy of improving agricultural productivity on the continent, while African Union Commission Chairman Dr. Zuma, promised the AU’s renewed commitment to the initiative.

Upon arrival in the Rwandan Capital, Kigali, to attend the 27th Session of the General Assembly of the African Union, President Sirleaf held talks with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and praised the work of the African Union Liaison Office in Liberia.

She urged Dr. Zuma to ensure that the AU maintains and strengthens its presence in Liberia, stressing that in the wake of the pending elections and democratic transition in Liberia, the monitoring role of the AU Liaison Office was crucial in lending credibility to the process.

In response, Dr. Zuma recognized the critical role the AU must continue to play in Liberia’s democratic development and promised to work with the Union’s Peace and Security Council in maintaining a strong presence in the country.-Press release

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