Source: The Herald
AFRICAN women from more than 12 countries in the region will from today meet in Harare and deliberate on ways to accelerate implementation of international commitments for the advancement of gender equality and economic empowerment.

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister, Olivia Muchena, said the three-day international conference would give women a platform to discuss the economic advancement, political and peace building arena.

"The international conference will bring together women from Zimbabwe and other African countries to reconsolidate their position on participation in current political and economic processes," Dr Muchena said.

Dr Muchena said the conference would also provide the ground for women to learn best practices from other countries that have made it on women's advancement.

Women, starting from grassroots level will also get a chance to exhibit their wares during the course of the conference.

Issues on the agenda during the conference include discussions on key drivers for women's economic and political empowerment, allocation of resources, meaningful empowerment of women among others.

Today, Zimbabwe will launch its African Women's Decade Zimbabwe Chapter at a function to be hosted by Vice President Joice Mujuru and Deputy Prime Minister Thokhozani Khupe.

Dr Muchena said the three Principals to the Global Political Agreement President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara were also expected to participate in the official opening ceremony tomorrow.

"The conference will comprise high level interactive panel discussions at the level of AU Ministers of Gender and other interactive recognised experts focusing on experience sharing, good practices and key policy initiatives in accelerating implementation of regional and international commitments on gender and empowerment of women," she said.

She said the outcomes of the conference would form the basis for programmes and projects on empowerment of women in Zimbabwe and the African region.

Hosted by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI), Ministry of Regional Integration and International Co-operation and the Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe, the conference is a follow up to an earlier visit to Zimbabwe by a delegation of African Women. The visit took place in April last year.

The delegation's visit was meant to promote solidarity with women of Zimbabwe and dialogue on women's empowerment in the political, social and economic sphere.

Speaking at the same occasion, Regional Integration and International Co-operation Minister, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, said the conference would come up with realistic programmes that work for women.

In the current constitutional consultation process, women of Zimbabwe are advocating 50/50 representation in all political and decision making positions.

In the economic playing field, women are also envisaging for opportunities arising from the indigenisation programme among other projects.

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