Lilian Ajayi-Ore, Founder and CEO of the Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W) was invited to Speak, by the Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Guinea to the United Nations, the Permanent Observes of the African Union to the United Nations and the Acting Execute Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund to participate in a high-level event titled “Demographic Dividend Roadmap for Africa: Moving from Committment to Action” on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) chamber – the United Nations Headquarters in New York (USA).
The event was organized by His Excellency Professor Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union, with the support of the African Union Commission (AUC) and UNFPA. The event gathered African Leaders, development partners, United Nations organizations, private sector, African Diaspora as well as youth representatives from the continents.
Invited Guest Speakers include:
- H.E. Mr. António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations
- H.E. Professor Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea, Chair of the African Union
- H.E. Mr. Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, AU Champion for Gender and Development
- H.E. Mr. Hery Rajaonarimampianina, President of the Republic of Madagascar, President of the Conference of Francophonie
- H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of African Union Commission
- H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda
- Right Honorable Dr. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho
- H.E. Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Nigeria
- H.E. Dr. Ghada Waly, Minister of Social Solidarity of Egypt
- Ms. Vanessa Moungar, Director for Gender, Women and CSOs, African Development Bank
- Ms. Myriam Sidibé, Director, Global Social Mission, UNILEVER
- Mrs. Lilian Ajayi-Ore, Founder & CEO of Global Connection for Women Foundation
See complete Agenda AU Demographic Dividend Event Program here.
The TRANSCRIPT of Lilian Ajayi-Ore’s speech is the following:
Heads of States,
Ladies, and Gentlemen.
Thank you for the honor of addressing the United Nations High-level panel on the roadmap to harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in youth at UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
I stand here today as a mother, daughter, and a child of the continent of Africa. My time in Nigeria as a young child afforded me the foundation to become the woman that I am today.
As the Founder and CEO of the Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W), an award-winning not-for-profit organization that believes in women and girls – and their rights to create new opportunities for themselves, and their communities. GC4W is one of the leading international non-profits of the millennium in the areas of gender equality, women empowerment, and youth empowerment.
Our programs and initiatives impact the lives of +3 million people worldwide. The Global Connections for Women Foundation was awarded the Best of Manhattan Charity for 3 consecutive years including 2017.
The mission of GC4W supports UN Women and the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development – specifically, SD Goal 3 (Access to Good Health and Well-Being), SD Goal 4 (Access to Quality Education), and SD Goal 5 (Gender Equality & Women Empowerment).
GC4W have had the opportunity to partner and collaborate with some of the largest organizations in the world including the United Nations, UN Women, Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Johnson & Johnson, Clinton Foundation – No Ceilings Project, Macy’s, to name a few.
I formed GC4W because as a part of the diaspora, I too wanted to create a unique way to expand the opportunities for youth empowerment and to gradually increase access and investments in youth employment.
My organization’s existing partnership with grassroots, NGOs and the private sectors have given us the opportunity to address key problems including – a.) addressing gender-based biases that inhibit economic growth b.) expanding the opportunities for youth empowerment and employment, c.) and, capacity building in increasing the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Thereby enabling an environment for an inclusive economic growth and an equitable return on investment for the economy.
With addressing the Gender Based biases, GC4W co-created “Teach Gender Equality” Course and Project with Microsoft Education, a certificate program offered to over 2 million plus teachers across the globe. The program provides an opportunity for students to participate and develop problem-solving skills in addressing “Gender Inequalities” in their own communities.
With advancing the youth empowerment and employment in the continent, GC4W focused on the educational development and skills building. We co-created an Entrepreneurship and STEM program that allowed 30 girls in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa (every summer since 2014) – to gain exposure to field professionals, and improve their skills in the field of STEM.
The girls in this program resides in the rural areas of the selected countries – and are exposed to a formal education in an informal setting. Students were surveyed pre-program and post-program about their desires to finish school and advance to the universities. After each session, we saw a significant shift in the desire to “graduate high-school, and go on to complete college” in their responses to the survey. The other benefit we saw was that the private sectors involved in the program, also adjusted their existing CSR programs and funding to support Girls in STEM, and Girls in the Rural areas of their communities. A great win for both parties.
These are some of many examples of the programs and initiatives launched by the Global Connections of Women Foundation – in our global commitment to advancing the opportunities, and rights for women and girls.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
With an estimate of 46% of the 1.3Billion projected increase in Africa’s Labor Force from 2014-2063 being young people aged 15-34 – averaging 12.1 million in yearly growth.
The Global Connections for Women see another opportunity in harnessing the potential of the Youth in Africa through an establishment of a partnership with technology firms in Silicon Valley.
Presently speaking GC4W has partnered with SV-NED Inc. and SV-Links to provide the first of its kind bridge between the United States Silicon Valley’s rich technological landscape and enabling a training program to utilize the intellectual and the youth capital available in Nigeria – and parts of Africa, in an attempt to create employment opportunities for the youth.
The Silicon Valley – Nigeria Economic Development program was co-founded by mother, Chief Temitope Ajayi and my sister, Denise Mobolaji Ajayi Williams, with an objective to foster a culture of entrepreneurial spirit and innovation among the Youths in Africa.
According to the Kauffman Foundation’s research on the impact of young firms to the GDP – they found that young firms can contribute approximately 20% more growth in gross job creation. Other studies found that startup firms could contribute to up to 7.3% in GDP annual growth, creating over 100,000 new jobs annually.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Several individuals in the Diaspora have designed programs and capabilities similar in mission to the ones mentioned above – and we all desire an ease in connecting with governmental agencies to build on the governmental support for our programs so that we may collectively increase impact, scale and reach.
I am excited to forge new partnerships with individuals, institutions, and governmental agencies with similar mission that we may expand opportunties for the youth, while increasing the demographic growth dividends in Africa.
Related news on Nigeriana.news about the high-level meeting: http://nigeriana.news/demographic-dividends-fg-urges-african-countries-embrace-industrialisation-youth-empowerment.html
Demographic Dividends: FG Urges African Countries To Embrace Industrialization and Youth Empowerment.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made the call on Nigeria’s behalf during the side event on Harnessing Demographic Dividends for Economic Growth convened by President of the Republic of Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union (AU), Alpha Conde, at the ongoing 72nd United Nations General Assembly, in New York, United States.
“Our intervention programmes and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, education is also very important as is health. We’ve put a framework under the vice president for the promotion and empowerment of youths. “Of course, it is one of the key goals of not only the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but also the African 2063 Agenda for Development” said Minister Onyeama.
“But also, I think a lot has to do with the building blocks for youth empowerment. And number one is really education. The youths need to have access to good education and capacity building to make them ready for those kind of jobs,” adds Minister Onyeama.
“And the second challenge is really job creation. And I think the point was made. It is not job for job’s sake, but sustainable jobs that are available for youths to grow and when you have that, education and good jobs, the youths are empowered and they are able to do everything. Of course, opening up the political space is very important and that is what we are trying to do,” Minister Onyeama added.
Read more on nigeriana.news.
High-Level UN Dialogue on Harnessing Africa’s Demographic Dividend.
The UNFPA and GBCHealth are joining forces to create a platform to facilitate the exchange of expertise between the private and public sectors.
GBCHealth also holds an exciting partnership with Aliko Dangote Foundation to Build African Business Coalition for Health.
“It’s an ambitious and bold project,” said Mr. Dangote, “but the only way to move Africa forward is to take bold moves, to think big, dream big and do big things together – breaking down silos, working across borders and working across sectors – with government and with each other,” said Mr. Dangote
The UN estimates that Africa will make up a quarter of the world’s population by 2050 – with an average 60% of the population under 24 years old. This youth bulge presents a tremendous opportunity to transform the economic and social landscape of the continent. Harnessing this potential into a positive force for development, will ensure African nations are able to reap significant dividends over the coming years.
Nancy Wildfeir-Field, President of GBCHealth, called on all businesses to promote demographic transformation in Africa. “Companies have a vital role to play utilizing resources, but more importantly their experience and expertise, to improve the health and wellbeing of youth across the continent. This partnership will serve as a platform to ensure that the public and private sectors work hand-in-hand to achieve the goal of a prosperous and growing Africa” said Nancy Wildfeir-Field.
“However, with an adolescent fertility rate of 100 per 1000 among young women in Sub-Saharan Africa the region remains at continued risk of high levels of unemployment and political instability. A partnership between the UNFPA and GBCHealth will engage the private sector on Africa’s demographic dividend to empower women and youth, focused initially on improving access to high-quality sexual and reproductive health products and service” adds, Nancy Wildfeir-Field.
Read more on csrwire.com.