UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to co-chair World Economic Forum during visit to South Africa


UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will travel to Cape Town from 1-5 June to attend the World Economic Forum on Africa 2015, which she will co-chair this year, visit UN Women programmes in the field, take part in a joint workshop for female entrepreneurs, and engage with a range of stakeholders.

On Monday 1 June, in the Khayelitsha Township, Cape Town, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will meet with local partners Grassroots Soccer, a grantee of the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women and visit 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 girls’ awareness of sexual and reproductive rights and HIV prevention, and increase girls’ access to medical, legal and psychosocial services.

To enhance business skills and marketing opportunities for budding women entrepreneurs, on 2 June, the Executive Director will take active part in a special workshop “Boost your Business with Facebook and UN Women”. The workshop will seek 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. This event is being held by UN Women’s global online community, empowerwomen.org, which promotes collaboration, learning and innovation, and connects women from more than 190 countries with one main purpose: ensuring that economic empowerment becomes a reality for all women everywhere.

From 3-5 June, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will attend the World Economic Forum on Africa 2015 (WEF) as Co-Chair, where she will call for a new economic agenda that works for women and benefits all. On the first day of the Forum, she will take part in an interactive session on fostering inclusive growth and speak at a workshop on “Emerging Technologies: Debates of Tomorrow”. On 4 June, she will speak at a press conference for Co-Chairs, from 9.50-10.45 a.m. South Africa Standard Time (3.50-4.45 p.m. EDT in New York), as well as contribute as a panelist to two public sessions, on “Closing the Economic Equality Gap” (from 2.45-4.15 p.m.) and on “Meeting the Development Challenge” (from 4.30-6 p.m.), both of which will be webcast on the UN Women homepage. On the final day, 5 June, she will provide a press briefing for international media, alongside Oxfam and Amnesty international (from 9-9.30 a.m.), and discuss “Gender Parity in Africa” as a panelist at a media briefing from 11.50-12.30 p.m.

This year’s WEF on Africa seeks to contribute to an improved understanding of how countries make use of diverse policies and tools available to expand social inclusion hand-in-hand with economic growth. Throughout, UN Women’s Executive Director will highlight women’s central role in Africa’s economic prosperity and development, underlining the need to strengthen the capacities of women entrepreneurs and place them at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, in order to foster inclusive and equitable growth on a global scale.

Also on the final day of her mission, Friday 5 June, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will speak at a special side event at the WEF on “Empowering Women through Partnerships”, hosted by The Coca-Cola Company. It will focus on its 5by20 initiative, which seeks to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women by 2020. The event will feature 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.

The Executive Director will also meet with business leaders and urge greater engagement in gender equality and women’s empowerment. Nearly 1,000 companies around the world have already committed to promote this, including nearly 60 in Africa. They have signed onto the Women’s Empowerment Principles — a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact.