Zuma lauds Africa’s women lead­er­ship

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

SOUTH Africa has a lot to learn from Liberia, the first African coun­try to elect a fe­male head of state who sta­bilised the coun­try af­ter be­ing rav­aged by years of con­flict, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma said yes­ter­day.

“We are very happy that as South Africa, believ­ing in the em­pow­er­ment of women, have seen a woman in Africa that has come in a coun­try that was trou­bled and she sta­bilised it. She then be­gan to de­velop that coun­try. As if that was not enough, Ebola at­tacked and she led from the front, fought it and de­feated it at a point when many were say­ing it was go­ing to fin­ish off the pop­u­la­tion,” Zuma said at a joint press brief­ing with vis­it­ing Liberian Pres­i­dent Ellen John­son Sir­leaf in Pre­to­ria.

“That coun­try is im­por­tant to have a good re­la­tion­ship with, and we will learn a lot.

“We be­lieve that who­ever will take over from her, will take ad­van­tage of the work she has done, and also de­pend on the wis­dom that she has dis­played. As South Africa, we will def­i­nitely strengthen the re­la­tions more.”

Sir­leaf has led Liberia since 2006.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, to­gether with her com­pa­triot Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Kar­man a pro-democ­racy cam­paigner from Ye­men.

Sir­leaf said in Africa, women had al­ready bro­ken the glass ceil­ing and were ready for more lead­er­ship roles.

“As I go around, I’m al­ways asked ‘what word do you have for women? What en­cour­age­ment would you give to women?’ And I stop and say, wait a minute, look at what’s hap­pen­ing. Look at the level of women that to­day are hold­ing po­si­tions all over the con­ti­nent and all over the world. Look at the names of par­lia­men­tar­i­ans in many of our coun­tries – Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda – all great ex­am­ples of that.

“Look at our mar­ket women in the in­for­mal sec­tor. The one thing in Liberia that, though poor, (they) are the vi­brant part of our econ­omy.” – ANA

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