Kenya retained her seat in the steering committee of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) for a period of two years representing the East African region for the third time.
The 23rd OAFLAD General Assembly meeting that was co-chaired by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and First Lady Sika Bella Kaboré of Burkina Faso also nominated Rwanda from East Africa, Burundi and Congo to represent Central Africa region, Mozambique and Namibia for Southern African while Niger and Sierra Leone will represent West Africa.
Members of the steering committee drive the mandate of the organization and oversee it affairs. They represent OAFLA and ensure its promotion in their respective regions. The steering committee is also in charge of implementing the decisions of the General Assembly.
The meeting in Niamey, Niger, also saw the election of First Lady Antoinette Sassou Nguesso of Congo as the new President of OAFLA, taking over from First Lady Sika Bella Kaboré while First Lady Margaret Kenyatta handed over the position of Vice President to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe.
The theme of the 23rd OAFLAD General Assembly is ‘Collaborating to Transform Africa, Addressing the Needs of Vulnerable Populations’.
To strengthen the operations of OAFLAD, the First Ladies agreed that approved strategies regarding collection of membership fee arrears should be strictly implemented to give the organization a strong financial base.
Previously, the First Ladies organisation was called Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) with the objective of providing a united voice for Africa’s most vulnerable groups living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
It rebranded to OAFLAD early this year, expanding its scope of work to incorporate a broader range of development issues affecting the continent including non-communicable diseases, gender equality, women’s and youth empowerment, maternal and Child health among other issues.
First Ladies Aïssata Issoufou Mahamadou (Niger), Fatima Maada Bio (Sierra Leon), Monica Geingos (Namibia), Keïta Aminata Maiga (Mali), Hinda Déby Itno (Chad) and Isaura Nyusi (Mozambique) were among those who attended the daylong meeting.
The First Ladies’ meeting is held on the sidelines of the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Africa Union (AU).
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, who is the chairman of AU, opened the Summit that will discuss the implementation of the historic African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
President Sisi emphasized that the launch of the AfCFTA marks an important achievement for Africa, adding that the economic bloc will help unlock the continent’s economic potential by boosting intra-regional trade, strengthening supply chains and spreading expertise.