Coverage: UN Women Executive Director visits Ethiopia

Date: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka begins her first official country visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 15 to 19 October 2019. During her visit, she will participate in a number of high-level events and bilateral meetings, as well as engagements with Ethiopian civil society, female ambassadors and beneficiaries of UN Women programmes in Ethiopia.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka speaks at the "She for Business" event on 15 October. Photo: UN Women
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka speaks at the "She for Business" event on 15 October. Photo: UN Women

A high-level event focusing on economic empowerment of women in Ethiopia on 15 October kicked off the mission. Co-hosted by UN Women and Finland, “She for Business,” featured remarks by President Sauli Niinistö, who is also on his first official visit to Ethiopia, and the continent of Africa, the President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde, and Ambassador Mahlet Hailu, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ethiopia.

In her remarks, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka discussed the situation of women’s economic empowerment in Ethiopia.

At the "She for Business" event on 15 October, President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö speaks about the economic empowerment of women. Photo: UN Women
At the "She for Business" event on 15 October, President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö speaks about the economic empowerment of women. Photo: UN Women

The event showcased Ethiopian and international best practices to inspire and drive women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship in the country, and featured an Ethio-Finnish panel of successful women in business who discussed their experiences. 

President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde speaks at the "She for Business" event on 15 October. Photo: UN Women
President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde speaks at the "She for Business" event on 15 October. Photo: UN Women

On 16 October, President Niinisto and Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka also visited the African Union Commission for a HeForShe Pinning Ceremony and to showcase the African Girls Can Code Initiative.

Chairperson of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of Finland Sauli Niinistö, Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira ElFadil and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the HeForShe Pinning Ceremony. Photo: UN Women
Chairperson of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of Finland Sauli Niinistö, Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira ElFadil and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the HeForShe Pinning Ceremony. Photo: UN Women

Speakers at the high-level event co-hosted by Finland included the Chairperson of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, President Niinistö, and Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira ElFadil.

President of Finland Sauli Niinistö speaks at the African Union Commission. Photo: UN Women
President of Finland Sauli Niinistö speaks at the African Union Commission. Photo: UN Women

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka encouraged men leaders and boys to commit to actively advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in all sectors, including ICT, while President Niinistö reflected on his experience as a HeForShe champion.

A participant in the African Girls Can Code Initiative demonstrates their work. Photo: UN Women
A participant in the African Girls Can Code Initiative demonstrates their work. Photo: UN Women

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka also participated in an official ceremony where she handed over an IT server to the Planning and Development Commission of Ethiopia, to facilitate the set-up of a national dashboard to track and report on the gender equality dimensions of global and national development plans.

The dashboard aims to close the existing gender data gaps in the country and will be crucial for monitoring progress on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and its gender-focused targets and indicators.

During the visit, the Executive Director will also garner support around the 25-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action and mobilize partners to join UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign. She will also witness the launch of the Ethiopia Chapter of the Africa Women Leaders Network at an event where President Sahle Worke-Zewde will be the guest of honour. 

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will conclude her visit to Ethiopia with a visit to a cattle-fattening centre owned by a rural women’s cooperative. She will meet with beneficiaries of UN Women’s economic empowerment programme in Adami TuluJido Kombolcha District, and will be accompanied by the Ethiopian Minister of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, Yalem Tsegaye andthe Head of Oromia Bureau of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, Muna Ahmed.