The Africa CEO Forum, under its ‘Women in Business’ initiative, has made a renewed call to African countries to implement policies that promote gender equality.
As part of the initiative, the Forum – which is the largest international gathering of Africa’s private sector decision-makers and financiers – act every year to make the advancement of female leadership a key priority.
The Forum engages and unites the entire business community around a clear mission: to significantly advance the feminization of top decision-making positions in African companies.
On the first day of the 7th edition of the Africa CEO Forum which took place in Kigali this March, distinguished female speakers discussed ways of breaking barriers that are limiting the number of women counterparts on the corporate boards of African companies.
This year’s Women in Business initiative was organized in partnership with Globacom and to open the discussion was Bella Disu, the organization’s Executive Vice Chairperson who was the keynote speaker.
She highlighted barriers that currently impede women into making it to corporate boards, citing among the, the absence of laws that promote equal representation of women and men in leadership positions in both in public and private sectors.
“For women to have a shot at joining executive boards, it starts with countries implementing policies which promote gender balance in leadership positions at the work place,” she said.
Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation for Eastern Africa suggested that a good way of getting women into management board is by scouting and grooming them from an early stage in their careers, preparing them for the future.
“Scouting talented females and mentoring them improves their chances at being appointed on management boards; this sometimes can start as low as doing pro-bono work but gathering experience and skills required at senior level management,” she explained.
Speaking at the same forum, Fatou Aminata Lo, the representative of UN Women Rwanda, said companies that involve women at the very top need to be recognized and lauded as a way of encouraging others.
As an example, she cited an initiative, last year, in which UN Women Rwanda in collaboration with the government of Rwanda rewarded corporate companies that have more women on their boards.
“This is something that can be replicated in other African countries,” she said.