The Centre for Economic and Leadership Development (CELD), a leading gender empowerment, and human capacity development-based organization, in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC), held the 4th edition of its Annual South America- Africa -Middle East- Asia Women Summit (SAMEAWS) in collaboration with the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL Women), USA; on 13 December 2016 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai – UAE.
The SAMEAWS 2016, bought together, the most influential women leaders and stakeholders from four regions of the world including the First Lady of the Republic of South Africa – Her Excellency Madam Bongi Ngema – Zuma; The First Lady of the Republic of Ethiopia – Her Excellency Madam Roman Tesfaye; Representatives of the Spouse of the president of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, among many other distinguished guests and dignitaries.
The 4th edition of the South America- Africa -Middle East- Asia Women Summit (SAMEAWS), with the theme: “Scaling up the rise of women leaders in emerging economies,’’ which converged delegates from five regions and over 35 countries around the world, created a platform for stakeholders within these regions to consolidate efforts in supporting and scaling up opportunities for women leaders in the regions as well as deliberate on sustainable ways of multiplying the number of women in leadership positions in emerging economies; thereby creating diverse possibilities for upcoming women leaders.
Opening the summit, Executive Director of Centre for Economic and Leadership Development (CELD), Mrs. Furo Giami welcomed the guests and representatives from various world regions; stating that the Summit was an opportunity to deliberate on sustainable ways of multiplying the number of women in leadership positions in emerging economies.
The Summit started with a welcome charge by Dr. Tariq Ahmed Nizami, The Founder of the CEO Clubs Networks Worldwide
This followed with a welcome charge by a representative of our strategic partners the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL WOMEN), Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler, Chair, Georgia Legislative Black Caucus,Member of the Georgia General Assembly – USA
The keynote titled: Women Leaders; A fail safe Investment for Emerging Economies was delivered by: H.E. Madam Bongi Ngema-Zuma, First lady of the Republic of South Africa and H.E. Madam Roman Tesfaye, First Lady of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
Her Excellency, Madam Bongi Ngema-Zuma took the stage, thanking the organizers of the SAMEAWS 2016, for inviting her and welcoming all participants, to the Summit, which she referred to as a “Gathering of Champions”.
In her keynote address on the theme of the event, H.E. Madam Bongi Ngema-Zuma titled: A fail safe Investment for Emerging Economies- Women, she stated that scaling up women leaders is a good investment, and emerging economies can yield a good return on this. The First Lady therefore implored emerging economies to consolidate efforts in supporting and scaling up opportunities for women leaders.
Madam Ngema-Zuma opined some of the achievements of the South African government in the empowering women, saying that South Africa government is leading by example in walking the talk. Some of the achievements she highlighted are the creation of the Ministry of Women based in the Presidency, Oprah Winfrey School for girls, and lead-lead institutions such as the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and various companies.
Her Excellency also spoke about the noble work of her foundation, Bongi Ngema-Zuma Foundation in fighting diabetes which continues to affect many women across the continent; stating that through various campaigns and programmes, hundreds of women are now acutely alive to the reality of illnesses with proper education on how best to manage them and live longer.
The first lady of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E Roman Tesfaye Abneh in her address titled: Women Leaders; A fail safe Investment for Emerging Economies, recognized the root cause of the setback in addressing inequality as the discrepancy between statuary achievements and actual practices, arguing that there have been constitutional provisions guaranteeing equality between women and men, but in practice there have been no equal opportunities between same.
She opined that the social, economic and political empowerment of women is an unequivocal means of achieving gender equality. Madam Abneh admitted that though this requires high-level political commitment and investment, it is worth making as the benefits which are manifolds in the short and long-run is good for the economy.
The first lady discussed the successes Ethiopia has achieved in this regards. Having invested significantly on the education of girls as well as on maternal and child health, with interventions implemented to improve the status of women, the numbers of Ethiopian women in higher learning institutions are increasing, with increase in women representation in the formal workforce and 38.8% of women representation in the parliament.
The representative of HH Sheikh Juma Bin Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum delivered the keynote remarks on behalf of the Patron.
There was a brief networking tea break and group photographs by guests and participants, after which the summit convened for the second part of presentations by Speakers.
The first presentation on Women Rising in Emerging Economies was delivered by Dr. Hibah Shata, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Child Early Intervention Medical Centre, Dubai – UAE. She spoke on Dealing with the Limitations and Barriers that women have to face while rising in leadership positions.
The Second presentation was titled: The Leadership Challenge- An expose on the unfulfilled mandates of women in positions of power. Here, Dr. Fatima Sbaity Kassem PhD. Former Director, UN-ESCWA Centre for Women, leadership challenge is the strive of both men and women, however women are faced with glass ceilings and hurdles to positions of power due to patriarchal values, cultural, traditions & norms and an internal but intangible and invisible women unfriendly party politics and political culture.
The presentations were followed by an Expert Panel on “Revolutionizing the political and economic prospects for women in emerging economies”. The panel session, was moderated by Dr. Ken Giami, Chairman African Leadership Magazine. The panelists included: Dr. Asma Salman Ph.D. CFM, Chair-Department of Accounting and Finance, American University in the Emirates (AUE), Dr. Sabrina Joseph, Acting Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zayed University, Dubai-UAE, Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), UAE, Dr. Kakul Agha, Assistant Professor, University City of Sharjah and Ms. Sandi Saskena, Empowerment Officer, Echelon Advisors and Management Consultants. The session was designed to trigger discussions on a number of radical steps and solutions required to position women in politics and business.
Networking Tea Break
The networking Tea break was followed by the Unveiling of the Amazons Watch Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Women in Emerging Economies 2016, and the Presentation of US Congressional Commendations / The South America-Africa-Middle East- Asia Amazons Awards (SAMEAA) 2016 – The Global Women Leaders Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2016 by: Rep. Dee Dawkins- Haigler, Chair, Georgia Legislative Black Caucus & Member of the Georgia General Assembly, USA.
The Summit ended with a closing charge presented by Rep. Dee Dawkins- Haigler, Chair on the power of Confidence & Courage in the face of Challenges.
Networking Tea Break and Group Photographs
The Summit was wrapped up with a Networking Tea break and Group Photographs of Guests and participants.