Madam Chairperson, Management of ExLA Group, Fellow Promoters of YAWC 2016 members of the media, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I deem it a great honour to be invited to deliver a speech in solidarity with the Young African Women Congress (YAWC 2016). We live in an era where we have come to realize the immense contributions women can make to the development of our world. It is therefore not surprising to see women rising in all sectors of our lives. To have such a huge congress to be organized by young women is evident of what the modern African woman is capable of.

The Young African Women Congress (YAWC) will be an annual Congress that will gather young women across the continent. And I must say that I’m glad the maiden edition is taking place in Ghana.

The theme: “The Modern Woman Leader; Revising the Status quo” encompasses the strong will of the 21st century woman. The modern woman is not a limited woman, she is not confined to the home, and she is not only capable of being an assistant. The modern woman leader is a leader in every sense of the word.

I want to extend a very warm welcome to all of you here who have joined us at the Airport View Hotel to commemorate the LAUNCH of YAWC 2016. I am indeed very pleased to be surrounded by so many women and men who have taken time off from their busy schedule to be with us tonight.

It is indeed a real pleasure for me to address this message of solidarity to the YAWC Team and Young African Women at large

An important lesson that we have learnt over the years is that for women to advance, democracy has to advance as well. But democracy requires more than an absence of discrimination. It needs governance. And good governance means sharing the power to make decisions – in politics, in economic and social life, in public administration and even in our homes. Supporting women to participate more actively in economic, social and political life is key to reducing poverty and increasing the wellbeing of women and girls, their families and communities. According to the World Bank, investing in the education of girls may yield a higher rate of return than any other investment. Investing in girls’ education is critical to achieving the MDGs. As an African educationist from our own home country of Ghana once said, if you educate a man you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a community.

No nation can hope to move forward if its women and children are trapped in endless cycle of poverty, when they don’t have the health care they need, when too many of them still die in childbirth, when they cannot read or take a job for which they will receive equal pay for equal work.

As we mark the beginning of a new milestone in attaining equality in leadership and active participation of women in development let us also bear in mind that the struggle is far from over. Women’s empowerment should never be reduced to individual success stories. It should be about collective well-being.

The NDC government under the distinguished leadership of H. E. John Dramani Mahama is doing everything in our means to support the integration of women’s voices in decision making in the political, technological and scientific fields, and in culture, to enhance the participation of women in the development of Ghana. As I stand here today I speak as a Deputy Minister for Arts, Culture and Tourism who is a woman and I have several contemporaries who are serving in numerous higher offices under this government. We are convinced that sustainable development can only be achieved if there is equality for women. Women can only realize their true potential, if they have access to education and are able to play a full role in the communities’ decision-making processes.

I want to end here by saying: men and women complement each as the holy book stipulates.

I therefore affirm my unflinching support for the Young African Women Congress 2016.

I thank you for your kind attention and let’s carry the “Gospel” to all corners of the continent.