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Kigali Africa CEO Forum: Speakers debate over barriers impeding women

The 7th edition of the AFRICA CEO FORUM currently ongoing in Kigali, as distinguished female speakers discussed ways of breaking barriers that are limiting the number of women counterparts on the corporate boards of African companies.

Under its “Women in Business” initiative, the AFRICA CEO FORUM takes action every year to make the advancement of female leadership a key priority; the forum engages and unites the entire business community around a clear mission: to significantly advance the feminization of top decision-making positions in African companies.

This year’s “Women in Business” initiative was organized in partnership with Globacom and to open the discussion was Bella Disu, the organization’s Executive Vice Chairperson who was the keynote speaker.

She highlighted barriers that currently impede women into making it to corporate boards, citing among the, the absence of laws that promote equal representation of women and men in leadership positions in both in public and private sectors.

“For women to have a shot at joining executive boards, it starts with countries implementing policies which promote gender balance in leadership positions at the work place,” she said.

Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation for Eastern Africa suggested that a good way of getting women into management board is by scouting and grooming them from an early stage in their careers, preparing them for the future.

“Scouting talented females and mentoring them improves their chances at being appointed on management boards; this sometimes can start as low as doing pro-bono work but gathering experience and skills required at senior level management,” she noted.

Speaking at the same forum, Fatou Aminata Lo, the representative of UN Women Rwanda said companies that involve women at the very top need to be recognized and lauded as a way of encouraging others.

As an example, she cited an initiative, last year, in which UN Women Rwanda in collaboration with the government of Rwanda rewarded corporate companies that have more women on their boards.

“This is something that can be replicated in other African countries,” she suggested.

About the AFRICA CEO FORUM

The AFRICA CEO FORUM is the largest international gathering of African private sector decision-makers and financiers. At its previous edition in Abidjan in March 2018, it brought together 1,500 business leaders, public decision-makers and investors from Africa and around the world for two days of discussions around the need to transform African champions in the face of international competition. The Forum is organized by Jeune Afrique Media Group, publisher of Jeune Afrique and The Africa Report, and by Rainbow Unlimited, a Swiss company specializing in the organization of economic promotion events.

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