More work to do to unleash potential of Africa's women and girls

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attends Opening Ceremony of the 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union. Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

More work needs to be done to unleash the potential of Africa's women and girls, the UN Secretary-General has said.

Ban Ki-moon was speaking during the opening ceremony of the annual gathering of African Heads of State in Addis Ababa.

The 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) opened on Friday.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

The African Union has declared 2015 "the year of women's empowerment" and has put gender equality at the heart of its 50 year action plan.

Also known as "Agenda 2063" or the "Africa we want", it calls on all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united continent.

The UN chief applauded the organization for submitting the proposal and said he hoped African leaders would adopt it at the Summit.

Africa may be home to Parliaments and Cabinets with the world's highest percentage of women members, Ban Ki-moon observed.

However, he added, women and girls on the continent need better access to secondary education, decent work and economic opportunities.

They also need protection from gender violence, female genital mutilation, maternal mortality and poverty.

The threat of terrorism in Africa and beyond, the Ebola outbreak and South Sudan crisis are topics that are dominating discussions at the session.

The Secretary-General is expected to co-host an Ebola event with the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1'11''


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