RWANDA – President Paul Kagame pledged Rwf460 million (US$500,000) to the newly launched African Women’s Leadership Fund (AWLF).

The President made the pledge during the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Africa breakfast he attended alongside President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia.

Also present was President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other Heads of State and Government from Canada and Norway.

The African Women’s Leadership Fund (AWLF) will prioritize the growth and success of women-owned and operated companies in Africa.

“Investing in African women fund managers is a smart and innovative approach. Female investors have been found to get higher returns. So, we all get better results by investing in women,” President Kagame said, adding that the fund is a statement of action towards narrowing the gender gap and inequalities that exist.

President Kagame was also unanimously elected as the new chairperson for the AUDA-NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) on Saturday, February 8. The President will replace his Senegalese counterpart, President Macky Sall for a two-year term which started today.

HSGOC is a body of African leaders that provides leadership and policy guidance to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

In his acceptance speech, Kagame thanked his peers for the trust and pledged to uphold the founding principle of the AU, to deliver on his responsibilities.

“I wish to use my first words as Chairperson of the Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee to express my wholehearted thanks for the trust you have placed in me to lead this body.

This is not the first time for this kind of trust. I can only pledge to do my best, in concert with all of you, to uphold this organ’s founding principles,” President Kagame said

In his acceptance speech he thanked his predecessor, President Macky Sall for the hard work he put into agency and the direction he chartered in the interest of the development of the continent.

Kagame also called upon African leaders to offer their support as he assumes the new role in the continental body.

“With AUDA-NEPAD as an integral component of the African Union, both institutions will be even stronger and more effective than before. Above all, we all have a duty to make it happen,” Kagame said.