Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa


July 2, 2013 - July 3, 2013

On July 2-3, 2013, the Bush Institute hosted the African First Ladies Summit, “Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa,” in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

With support from ExxonMobil, the two-day summit brought together Heads of State, current and former First Ladies, government officials, academics and representatives from non-profit and private sector organizations around the world to focus on effective investments in women that lead to greater stability and prosperity in countries.

The Summit highlighted the critical role First Ladies play as advocates for women and girls, and provide examples and models of programs that are working to better the lives of women and girls across the continent. First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Laura Bush held a discussion moderated by Cokie Roberts.


President and Mrs. Bush both delivered keynote addresses at the Summit. Participants also included

Mrs. Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States
Mrs. Cherie Blair, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
The Honorable Nancy G. Brinker, Chair, Global Strategy, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®; U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control
The Honorable Mark Dybul, Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
Dr. Martin Fisher, Co-Founder and CEO, KickStart International
Dr. Julie Gerberding, President, Merck Vaccines
Ms. Suzanne McCarron, President, ExxonMobil Foundation
The Honorable Leslie Rowe, Ambassador, Office of Global Health Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State
The Honorable Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, UNAIDS, Undersecretary-General of the United Nations

African First Ladies

African First Ladies in attendance included:

Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur, Spouse, Vice President of Ghana
Mrs. Chantal Campaore, First Lady of Burkina Faso
Mrs. Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza, First Lady of Mozambique
Dr. Christine Kaseba, First Lady of Zambia
Mrs. Salma Kikwete, First Lady of Tanzania
Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma, First Lady of Sierra Leone
Mrs. Janet Kataaha Museveni, First Lady of Uganda
Mrs. Roman Tesfaye, First Lady of Ethiopia
Mrs. Nompumelelo Zuma, First Lady of South Africa


Tuesday, July 2

Video: Morning Sessions

Opening Remarks 

Welcome and remarks by Mrs. Laura Bush

Conversation with First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Laura Bush, moderated by Cokie Roberts

A Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment
Research has demonstrated that when women are economically empowered, entire communities benefit. Yet there is a crucial knowledge gap regarding the most effective interventions to advance women’s economic opportunities. To address this gap, the UN Foundation and the ExxonMobil Foundation joined forces in 2012 and will soon release “A Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment.” The research initiative includes 17 research commissions and reviews more than 135 program and policy evaluations across four categories of employment – agriculture, entrepreneurship, wage employment and youth employment. The report identifies proven, promising and high potential interventions that increase women’s productivity and earnings in particular economic and country contexts. Suzanne McCarron, President of the ExxonMobil Foundation, will interview Mayra Buvinic, UN Foundation Senior Fellow, on the groundbreaking research.

Panel I: The Key to Global Growth: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs Through Training and Technology
Compelling evidence shows that empowering women economically and fostering women’s entrepreneurship can further stability and growth around the world. Globally, women own approximately 25 to 33 percent of all private businesses in the formal economy, but they generally do not own the means of production and secure less than one percent of the business contract opportunities. Women invest up to 90 percent of their earnings on their families as compared to men who invest 30 to 40 percent of their earnings. Advancing women entrepreneurs is a strategic approach to building stronger communities, stable societies and sustainable economies. In Africa, where it is predicted that seven of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies will emerge over the next five years, financial inclusion is critical to fostering sustainable growth. The panel explores and spotlights ways that key stakeholders, including private, public and nonprofit sectors are effectively applying technology to advance Africa’s development and improving lives of women through entrepreneurship. The session emphasizes the most effective methods and innovations that propel women entrepreneurs, including mobile technology, skills training, business development, access to capital and mentoring, and shares stories of how First Ladies are advocating for women’s entrepreneurship.

Emma Cochrane, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Africa and Power, ExxonMobil Gas and Power Marketing

Mrs. Cherie Blair, 
founder, Cherie Blair foundation for Women

Happiness Mchomvu,
Manager, Women Entrepreneurship Development
Sabetha M.J. Mwambenja,
 Managing Director, Covenant Bank for Women (Tanzania) Ltd.
Ory Okollah,
 Director of Investments, Omidyar Network

11:45 a.m.  Panel II: Subsistence to Security: 
Providing opportunities and Improving Agricultural Outcomes for Female Farmers
Research reveals that the majority of those who produce, process and market Africa’s food are women. In sub-Saharan Africa, women contribute 60 to 80 percent of the labor in both food productions for household consumption and for sale. While women are at least half of the workforce in agriculture, their access to resources such as land, credit and other services in rural communities continues to be limited, and inequality in different agriculture value chains is a substantial challenge. A Food and Agriculture Organization study found that national agricultural output could increase by as much as four percent if female farmers were granted equal access to resources like land and fertilizers. This panel addresses the most effective and innovative strategies to overcoming gender disparities and increasing women’s roles in agricultural development. Specifically, this panel highlights programs and technologies that are providing access to consumer markets, improving farming techniques and using technology to increase yield and accelerate productivity. Finally, the panel highlights how governments, nonprofits and corporations can move the focus on agriculture beyond development and towards business growth, economic opportunity and food security.

Dr. Jemimah Njuki, 
Global Coordinator, Pathways and CARE Tanzania’s Women in Agriculture Program

Martin Fisher,
 co-founder and CEO, Kickstart International
Josephine Okot ,
managing director, Victoria Seeds Ltd
Mary Rono, 
Dairy Farmer, Land o’ Lakes Beneficiary, Kenya
Sherry-Lee Singh,
 Project manager, Massmart Supplier Development Fund

Wednesday, July 3

Remarks by President George W. Bush

Remarks by President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and First Lady Mama Salma Kikwete
Panel III: A Life-saving Collaboration to Combat Cervical and Breast Cancer: Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is a life-saving health program led by the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. This panel describes the evolution of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon as an innovative approach to bringing public and private partners together to support countries’ efforts to combat two of the leading causes of death in women in sub-Saharan Africa—cervical and breast cancer. The panel discusses the progress of the initiative since its launch in September 2011, including reports from model country Zambia, and demonstrates how existing health platforms, such as PEPFAR, have been leveraged to expand services and accelerate progress against cervical and breast cancer. The panel provides a particular emphasis on the role of national leadership, including that of a First Lady, and the way governments, nonprofits and private corporations can effectively work together to save lives.

The Honorable Nancy G. Brinker, Chair, Global Strategy, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®; U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control

The Honorable Mark Dybul, 
Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Dr. Christine Kaseba, First Lady of Zambia
The Honorable Julie Gerberding, President, Merck Vaccines
Dr. Doyin Oluwole,
 Founding Executive Director, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, George W. Bush Institute
Dr. Doreen Ramogola-Masire, 
Country Director and Lead Physician, Botswana-UPenn Partnership, Women’s Health Program
The Honorable Leslie V. Rowe,
 Ambassador, Office of Global Health Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State
The Honorable Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, UNAIDS Undersecretary-General, United Nations

1:00 p.m. / 5:00 a.m.  Panel IV: Critical Interventions in Education: Literacy, Access to Education and Teacher Training

According to the Global Campaign for Education, girls in 47 out of 54 African countries have less than a 50 percent chance of completing primary school. These low odds are compounded by issues such as child marriage, trafficking and the undue burden that HIV/AIDS places on female-headed households (through loss of income and orphaned children). Research shows that when women are educated, their children are more likely to be educated, and their families are healthier and more prosperous. Based on UNESCO data, youth literacy rates in sub-Saharan Africa have increased by six percent over the past 20 years, and each additional year of schooling reduces female fertility rates by 10 percent. Improving access to quality education for all – with special attention to girls – is critical for the future of healthy families, communities and countries across Africa. This panel explores innovative education interventions that are allowing countries in Africa to amplify their accelerating development. Panelists discuss interventions that utilize public-private partnership models, cross-sector collaborations and technology to improve access to literacy and teacher training at both the grassroots and national levels. Finally, this panel underscores the roles of First Ladies as champions of the education of girls and women.

Rudo Kwaramba, Regional  Leader, World Vision International

Mrs. Sia Koroma, First Lady of Sierra Leon
Pam Allyn, Executive Founder and Director, LitWorld
Bruktawit Tigabu, Founder and Director, Whiz Kids Workshop
Lydia Wilbard, Co-Director, CAMFED Tanzania

2:05 p.m. / 6:05 a.m.  Closing Remarks and Call to Action

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