Coverage: Executive Director visits South Africa

Date: Monday, June 1, 2015

During a week-long mission to her native South Africa from 1-5 June, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka visited UN Women programmes in the field, took part in a joint workshop for female entrepreneurs, and attended the World Economic Forum on Africa 2015 – which she co-chaired this year – where she called for a new economic agenda that works for women and benefits all, and engaged with a range of stakeholders. Read the announcer.

5 June

On the final day of the WEF 2015, 5 June, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka gave a press briefing for international media, alongside Oxfam and Amnesty international, and discussed “Gender Parity in Africa” as a panelist at an issue briefing. Watch the webcast of the issue briefing:

Posing after the breakfast event on 5 June, (from left to right): Susan Mboya, President of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; Noko Maganye, a participant in UN Women’s Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs programme, funded by The Coca-Cola Company’s “5by20” initiative; and Nathan Kalumbu, President of Coca-Cola Eurasia and Africa. Photo courtesy of the Coca-Cola Company
Posing after the breakfast event on 5 June, (from left to right): Susan Mboya, President of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; Noko Maganye, a participant in UN Women’s Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs programme, funded by The Coca-Cola Company’s “5by20” initiative; and Nathan Kalumbu, President of Coca-Cola Eurasia and Africa. Photo courtesy of the Coca-Cola Company

Also on the final day of her mission, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke at a special side event at the WEF on “Empowering Women through Partnerships”, hosted by The Coca-Cola Company. It focused on its 5by20 initiative, which seeks to empower 5 million women by 2020. The event featured insights from UN Women and other partners on empowering women through partnerships, as well as the inspirational personal story of a 5by20 entrepreneur on how skills training helped her grow her business and strengthen her community. Read more about her story and the event here.

4 June

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke along with the four other Co-Chairs at a press conference on 4 June during the World Economic Forum on Africa 2015 in Cape Town. Copyright by World Economic Forum/Jakob Polacsek
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke along with the four other Co-Chairs at a press conference on 4 June during the World Economic Forum on Africa 2015 in Cape Town. Photo: Copyright by World Economic Forum/Jakob Polacsek

On day two of the WEF Africa 2015, UN Women's Executive Director spoke at a press conference for Co-Chairs and contributed as a panelist in two public sessions, on “Closing the Economic Equality Gap” and “Meeting the Development Challenge”. Throughout the Forum, she highlighted women’s role in Africa’s economic prosperity and development, and the need to foster inclusive and equitable growth on a global scale.

Watch the press conference with UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and the four other Co-Chairs of the World Economic Forum Africa 2015, held in Cape Town on 4 June:


Watch the webcast of the public session on “Closing the Economic Equality Gap”:


The Executive Director also delivered remarks at a session on “Meeting the Development Challenge”:


3 June

Photo: World Economic Forum 2015 

On her first day at WEF Africa 2015, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka took part in an interactive session on fostering inclusive growth and speak at a workshop on “Emerging Technologies: Debates of Tomorrow”. This year’s WEF seeks to contribute to improved understanding of how countries make use of diverse policies and tools to expand social inclusion hand-in-hand with economic growth. 

2 June

Photo: UN Women/Karin Schermbrucker

To enhance business skills and marketing opportunities for budding women entrepreneurs, on 2 June, the Executive Director is taking active part in a special workshop “Boost your Business with Facebook and UN Women”. Organized by UN Women’s global online community, empowerwomen.org, the workshop sought to improve understanding of Facebook for Business among women who work in digital marketing in small- and medium-sized businesses in South Africa, and will be followed by another in Johannesburg on 5 June. It represents an important part of UN Women’s multi-pronged strategies to advance women’s economic empowerment and encourage active participation by the private sector in gender equality. Read the press release.

1 June

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka visits the United Nations Trust Fund (UNTF) - supported Grassroot Soccer SKILLZ Street intervention at the Yomelela Primary School, Khayalitsha Cape Town   Photo: UN Women/Karin Schermbrucker
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka visits the United Nations Trust Fund-supported Grassroot Soccer SKILLZ Street intervention at the Yomelela Primary School, Khayalitsha Cape Town. Photo: UN Women/Karin Schermbrucker

In the Khayelitsha Township, Cape Town, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka met with local partners Grassroots Soccer, a grantee of the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women and visited a primary school to see first-hand the impact of sports in fostering girls’ empowerment and addressing violence against women. The SKILLZ Street Plus project is a broad intervention that is sports-based but also works to foster girls’ empowerment, expand sexual and reproductive health awareness and HIV prevention, and increase girls’ access to medical, legal and psychosocial services. Read more about her visit and the programme.

Empowering women across Africa

Income empowers Kilimanjaro women to seek justice
Through a programme supported by UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, more than 1,000 women have joined savings and loans groups, started businesses, and sought legal advice to claim their rights, including to land and an inheritance.


Boosting financial and business literacy in Rwanda
A series of luncheon-events supported by the Rwanda Development Board, UN Women and the International Finance Corporation aim to give guidance to career women on prudent financial management and trigger interest in personal growth, finance and investment.


Liberia women traders

Mobile banking helps Ebola-affected women traders
Hard-hit by closed markets and travel restrictions, some 2,500 women cross-border traders receive cash transfers via mobile technology from the Central Bank of Liberia with a grant from UN Women to help them save and expand their businesses. (also available in French)


Somali women refugees raking

Braving dust storms, women plant seeds of hope at the Dadaab refugee camp
Turning dry lands into fertile fields, a livelihood project is helping Somali women refugees in Kenya make a living and prevent sexual and gender-based violence.
(also available in French)


Women’s key role in agricultural production emphasized at Sharefair
African leaders called for greater investment in women in order to increase production and improve livelihoods, at a Sharefair on Rural Women’s Technologies to Improve Food Security, Nutrition and Productive Farming.


A women turns to her tomato plants at the Imali cooperative in Rwanda

“I bought a mattress and health insurance” – rural Rwandan farmer
Through Farmer Field Schools, more than 350 farmers have learned about nutrition, modern agricultural techniques and business skills while creating cooperatives and pooling savings. (also available in French)


Rwandan farmer

Congolese refugees living with HIV forge ahead, gaining independence
Women are cultivating mushrooms and tomatoes, learning about business and agriculture and pooling their funds along with combating social stigma and confronting gender-based violence. (also available in French)


Women from across Gharpolu County, Liberia bring pots filled with the dried food and spices they produced through the project to show the visiting delegation. Photo: UN Women/James Mulbah

Liberian women prosper with newfound skills
Around 600 women have been trained in literacy, entrepreneurship and other skills to enhance their physical and economic security, as part of a larger programme that seeks to increase the participation of women in post-conflict planning and peacebuilding.


Read the Storify of a Twitter chat with our Executive Director on Women's Empowerment in Africa, held on 26 May.
Follow the conversation around the World Economic Forum Africa 2015 on Twitter @wef and @UN_Women using the hashtag #af15 .

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