University of Johannesburg: UJ IPATC conference looks at the financial inclusion of women in Africa

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The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation (IPATC) hosted a two-day conference titled “Women, Gender and Financial Inclusion: Rethinking Gender Budgeting Responses, Inclusion and Transformation in Africa” on Thursday, 8 September and Friday, 9 September 2022.

The conference hosted leading policy insiders, experts and stakeholders and explored the intricacies around women empowerment and gender budgeting.

The exchange of experiences aimed to lead to practical political reflections on the financial inclusion of women in Africa.

Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs Thoko Didiza gave the keynote address.

The UJ delegation included Ms Boniswa Madikizela, UJ Council Member, Professor Bettine Van Vuuren, Senior Director: Strategic Initiatives and Administration (SIA), Professor Siphamandla Zondi, Director of IPATC and Institute for Global African Affairs as well as Moderator – Dr Bhaso Ndzenze, HOD, Dept of Politics and International Relations.

Guest speakers Ms Lily Sanya, Chief of Mission to South Africa IOM UN Migration Pretoria, Ms Cynthia Chigwenya, UJ Alum and African Union’s Youth Ambassador for Southern Africa, Ambassador Dr Josephine Ojiambo, Honorary President to CWBN Kenya, Special Advisor to CBWN International Immediate past Deputy Secretary-General CommonWealth Secretariat and Cllr Belinda Echeozonjuku, representing City of Joburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse addressed the delegates in attendance from different parts of the continent.

Prof Van Vuuren said that the gathering was to discuss the challenges and opportunities for women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment

“Our work is centred on the 2030 SDG agenda. UJ has improved its global rankings. We are in 3rd place globally for SDG 1 and 8th for decent growth and economic growth. It is my hope that the needs of African women and goals will be integrated into building a just society.

In her address, Minister Didiza emphasised the importance of women empowerment.

“When we talk about women empowerment it’s because we are part and parcel of society. Learning from leadership of women, past and present, shows how they mobilised for their societies.”

She added that the conversations at the conference needed to be continuously examined.

The conference breakaway sessions discussed topics including Financial Inclusion Policies in Africa, Gender Budgeting Response in African Countries, Conflict Transformation and Peace Building Finance, Financial Inclusion and Innovation, as well as Women Affairs.

“This is a conference to advance sustainable women economic empowerment in line with the SDG Agenda 2063. It sought to investigate the impact of financial inclusion and gender budgeting response on women economic empowerment and gender equality in various African communities,” said Dr Tinuade Ojo, Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations, UJ.

The two-day conference took place at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg and was hosted in collaboration with UN Women, Women Economic Assembly, Commonwealth Businesswomen among many others.

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