Her Excellency Dr Ameenah Gurib Fakim, Former President of Mauritius and Dr Ismahan Elouafi.
Allow me to take the opportunity to thank THE ARAB DEVELOPMENT BANK FOR AFRICA (BADEA), our gracious host; as well as BADEA Chairman of the Board of Directors His Excellency Dr Fahad Aldossari; and BADEA Director General Dr. Sidi Ould Tah for inviting me to make a contribution on the positioning of BADEA in Africa.
Distinguished Former Heads of States,
Representatives from all African States,
I offer a special note of appreciation that I have particular interest in:
The participation and contribution of women in all spheres.
Kudos to my sister, Dr Fatima Elsheik and the team from BADEA.

I have been requested to respond on “Social pressures resulting from the various crises: inflation; food security; and healthcare”.

The Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation has as one of its focuses, the training and Development of youth and a bias towards women in Africa and it is from this perspective that my contribution is made.

In our work, we push for public education to be treated as the greatest asset in the country which has to be strengthened and viewed as a pathway to opportunity. There is so much talent in the youth of Africa, so often unexplored and not invested in.

As I listen to youngsters, I get the sense that they think we, adults, think leadership is about commanding and controlling masses. It is not so, for the 4IR generation, who occupy their time on intelligent machines, the central ingredients that go hand in hand are: innovation; learning; analytics; agility; a global mind-set; cultural tolerance; diversity; and the ability to manage conflict.

The electricity power crisis in Southern Africa, for as long as we can remember, has had a catastrophic effect on industries, production and economic growth for Africa, which has exacerbated, what we call in South Africa, The Triple Challenges of:
1. Poverty;
2. Inequality; and
3. Unemployment.

We believe, in that fundamental, universal promise that, even if you do not start out with much, if you work hard, educate yourself and your children and do what you are supposed to do, you will be able to build a life of dignity for yourself. And also, believing in a trust compact with the state, that if we contribute to society in our working years, we are ensuring that the next generation is able to benefit and we also benefit again, when we are old.

In this new era of a global social contract, wellbeing is ranked at the top of every significant research on HAPPINESS. Being healthy is the most important determinant of our well-being.

There is need for more spending on healthcare, as witnessed in the social contract in healthcare which is under immense pressure in Africa due to ageing and rising technology costs.

We have a crisis, we cannot afford basic food stuff which is a systemic problem. Societies have advanced technologically and scientifically to fundamentally take care of the basic needs for everybody. But the distribution of the products of society is private; this has reduced consumption to a function of liquidity and affordability. Inflation has exacerbated the problem. There is no attempt to take all of societies challenges of affordability into account.

We have gone back to basics and advocate for agriculture to be one of the subjects at school. We have gone further to train learners on how to look after the soil practically.

A lack of access to social services and poverty has to be, one of the worst social miseries that can be inflicted on any human being. Unemployment is a scourge in Africa. Data from the African Development Bank tells us that while Africa has the youngest population, with 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, it has a disheartening unemployment rate. We need to begin to interrogate the type of work available to those looking for work. There are numerous studies that refer to the ‘working poor’ – working class people and living below the bread line.

Banks just don’t fund our African innovations. Everything in the system is done to keep ordinary people out of the mainstream economy. The requirements are stringent and not meant to accommodate new entrants.

The youth, who have all the ideas and innovations, are forced to turn to venture capitalists who capture the bulk of the venture for seed capital and in the end become, the real owner of the venture. If you are lucky, as youth, you can end up with 30% in your own venture. The risk is also great to eventually being diluted completely. It is really tough out there. The empowered continue to capture the economy. Banks need to do better – there are returns – we are not asking for charity.

In closing:

There is a huge untapped talent in the pool of educated women who need the spotlight. Work is an important part of self-determination and gives people a sense of worth. This can be part of engaging in a social contract, to contribute to communities and society. Women are not that far off from each other, there is always the thought, ‘it could easily have been me and I could easily have been her’.

51% of humanity is comprised of women and their voices must be heard in order to curb the unequal graph on access to healthcare and basic needs.
We must also acknowledge that the work we have done so far to end gender inequality has only had a small impact – we need to do more.

Poverty is a denial of human rights:

Because of poverty, women also face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of healthcare and climate change.

We need more dialogue with women to enable women to determine their own lives and forge their own future.

Our complex history is a testament to the fundamental truth that real change, will only come from collaboration; co-creation; solidarity; and unity. Transformation must continue to be born out of a DIALOGUE AMONG EQUALS. The legacy we leave to future generations has many dimensions: the stock of human knowledge and culture, inventions, infrastructure, institutions and the state of the world. Wars were fought for our freedom. Lest we forget, we owe future generations something.

I thank you most kindly.