Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission and member of IWF South Africa, Hosted President Barack Obama for a historic first address to the African Union this week.
Dlamini Zuma is Chairperson of the African Union Commission headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She welcomed President Obama by saying, “Although we welcome you as the President of the United States of America, we also claim you as our own.”
The visit is part of the effort to strengthen diplomatic ties between the United States and Africa, as the continent develops into a global force in trade and industry. Her Excellency Dlamini Zuma is a leading architect for the social and political framework which will guide the future of the continent over the next 50 years. She pointed out the growth of Africa stating, “Africa is a youthful continent and likely to remain so over the next few decades. By the end of this century, one in three of the world’s population will be African. Over half of its population is women. Our people therefore remain our most precious resource.”
Her Excellency Dlamini Zuma emphasized the integral role of women in the future progress of Africa, pointing out that women’s economic empowerment is the strongest driver for the future prosperity of societies, citing the statistic that women invest back 70% of their earnings into the family and community while men typically invest 30%.
President Obama acknowledged the importance of the AUC in maintaining a prosperous, peaceful and politically-sound Africa and commended Dlamini Zuma for her inspired leadership. Dlamini-Zuma is a trailblazer in the empowerment and inspiration of women across the African continent and has dedicated her life to the cause of freedom and democracy in Africa. She has held a number of influential government positions in South Africa, including Minister of Health (1994 to 1999) under President Nelson Mandela and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1999 to 2009) under President Thabo Mbeki and President Kgalema Motlanthe. She has frequently appeared as a featured speaker at IWF World Conferences.