WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED BY OTUNBA (DR.) BASIRAT NAHIBI, FOUNDER/PRESIDENT, WAELE AFRICA FOUNDATION, AT THE 8TH WAELE INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT ON “PEACE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE ROLE OF AFRICAN WOMEN’’, 1ST – 3RD NOVEMBER 2018 AT SAFARI COURT, WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA
WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED BY OTUNBA (DR.) BASIRAT NAHIBI, FOUNDER/PRESIDENT, WAELE AFRICA FOUNDATION, AT THE 8TH WAELE INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT ON “PEACE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE ROLE OF AFRICAN WOMEN’’, 1ST – 3RD NOVEMBER 2018 AT SAFARI COURT,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire members of WAELE AFRICA FOUNDATION, allow me to express my pleasure in welcoming distinguished guests and participants to the 8TH WAELE INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT ON “PEACE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE ROLE OF AFRICAN WOMEN’’.
I would like to begin this address by expressing my profound gratitude to the President of the Republic of Namibia, His Excellency Dr Hage Geingob, for opening the doors of this beautiful country to WAELE AFRICA, and for his indispensable support in order to ensure that this summit becomes a reality.
Permit me to extend my sincere appreciation to the Prime Minister, Her Excellency Madam Saara Kuugongelwa; the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Hon Doreen Siyoka; Minster of Defence, Hon Penda Ndakolo as well as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon Netumbo Nandi Ndaithwa of Namibia.
Let me crave your indulgence to also immensely thank the former President of Tanzania, His Excellency Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and former First Lady of Namibia, Her Excellency Lady Penehupifo Pohamba, WAELE AFRICA Grand Patron and Matron for their interest in WAELE AFRICA in particular and African women empowerment in general.
It would be out of place if I did not acknowledge the hospitality of the good people of Namibia, particularly the women folk who have found time out of their busy schedules to grace this all important occasion.
This great assembly is not only a gathering of notable peace ambassadors and illustrious champions of women`s cause, but, it is also a clear testimony to the unquenchable desire and yearnings of African women to continue making their invaluable and significant contribution towards the creation and consolidation of peace and stability on the African continent.
Until very recently, the unique and positive roles being played by African women in the promotion of peaceful co-existence and inter-communal harmony, were brazenly ignored, and more often than not, wantonly relegated to the background.
The brief history of WAELE AFRICA is a demonstration of courage. With only a few hands, scanty resources and sheer determination as our common capital, WAELE AFRICA at its early stage, resolved to embark on humanitarian peace building missions. At the beginning, the going was indeed very rough. Many of our colleagues who could not measure up to the challenge inevitably absconded. Some, though full of enthusiasm, were lost to the cold hands of death. Yet, quite a number persevered and impressively stayed the course, remarkably surviving the slippery road to success.
It is with pains in my heart that I concede the bitter truth, that, development in Africa has been hampered by civil unrest and conflicts for too long. It is common knowledge that no Nation experiences meaningful development in a state of permanent crisis. A continent which has been bogged down by community and leadership crises in spite of its abundant human and natural resources cannot afford the terrible consequences of widespread civil strife, which make peaceful co-existence a mirage.
From Rwanda to Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, DRC, Sudan, Southern Sudan, Libya, Cameroon and every other African country where there has been civil strife, women and children have been the worst hit. Nevertheless, women have been actively involved in peace and conflict management. It is a fact of our contemporary social life that many distressed and war ravaged countries have moved from state of chaos and instability to that of peace due to African women’s contribution.
The participation of women in peace and conflict transformation in Africa cannot be overstressed. The critical roles being played by women during and after conflicts in countries across Africa have continued to bring succour. Saving lives during wars and post-wars is germane to peaceful co-existence of warring parties, resettlement of war victims, remediation of victims and rebuilding of economies are part of the biggest challenges faced everywhere wars have been experienced on the continent. When we recognize that women involved in bringing the much needed PEACE in Africa are faced with serious challenges, we will begin to support their initiatives in any way possible.
In the circumstance we find ourselves in Africa, women cannot but continue giving their all, both now and in the future, to ensure that together we succeed in ushering the dawn of peace, sustained prosperity and development across our continent.
In addition to WAELE AFRICA’s peace initiatives across Africa, women and widows’ empowerment programmes, including today’s empowerment of 200 widows, we are poised to open our continental headquarters in Abuja and 5 Regional offices across Africa in January 2019.
The Regional offices are as follow:-
West Africa – Dakar: Senegal
East Africa – Nairobi: Kenya
Central Africa – Yaoundé: Cameroon
Southern Africa – Windhoek: Namibia
North Africa – Algiers: Algeria
Furthermore, women & children specialist hospitals and Vocational training centres will be built in all the 52 countries where WAELE is currently present. I am delighted to inform you that WAELE Women Television/Radio has been licenced to operate. We have also revalidated our certificate of incorporation to include objectives that were not originally captured at inception in 2004.
The headquarters of WAELE Women Television/Radio will be in Abuja, Nigeria. The outfit will give voice to all voiceless women and showcase issues concerning women in various spheres of life across Africa and beyond. WAELE Women Television/Radio will start broadcasting in the third quarter of 2019 with 20 correspondents who will be reporting from the following cities:
- Abuja – Nigeria
- Lagos – Nigeria
- Dakar – Senegal
- Nairobi – Kenya
- Addis Ababa – Ethiopia
- Pretoria – South Africa
- Cairo – Egypt
- Algiers – Algeria
- Yaoundé – Cameroon
- New York – USA
- Washington DC – USA
- Beijing – China
- Moscow – Russia
- Brussels – Belgium
- London – United Kingdom
- Ottawa – Canada
- Montreal – Canada
- Berlin – Germany
- Tehran – Iran
- Dubai – UAE
Permit me to acknowledge the support of my President, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, under whose administration WAELE AFRICA has flourished, as well as the cooperation of Nigeria Ministries of Women and Foreign Affairs.
As we look forward to the smooth and successful implementation of these laudable projects, we urge our members to remain focused and rededicate themselves to the pursuit of our mandate, especially in the area of African women emancipation.
Let me salute your indomitable courage, resilience, commitment and focus while equally seizing the opportunity offered by this rare forum to reaffirm WAELE AFRICA’s strong resolve to champion global PEACE.
Finally, I sincerely thank you all for finding time from your very tight schedules to attend the 8th WAELE International Summit; I hope that the deliberations will be far reaching in bringing sustainable peace and development to our continent and beyond.
Distinguished guests, esteemed participants, permit me, before I conclude this welcome remark, to salute the resilience of every woman who through individual or organized efforts, especially through non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) continue to work tirelessly and selflessly to ensure that peace returns to every African country where conflict existed or exists through acceptable conflict transformation mechanisms.
Members of WAELE AFRICA intend not to rest on our oars but continue to spare neither efforts nor resources in forging a veritable partnership with individuals and groups who share our goals and objectives in enthroning the dawn of peace and stability in Africa.
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS.