The AU has awarded South Africa the prize for being the best country in Africa in advancing women’s economic rights.
It was, however, trumped by Rwanda when it came to political rights for women
African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced the awards at the closing ceremony of the AU summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
Algeria and Tunisia were joint winners in the category of social rights. Algeria was the overall winner in all three categories.
South Africa topped a list of 11 countries in advancing women’s economic rights. The award was measured by the following indicators: the amount of paternity and maternity leave, employment ratios between men and women, the income gap between men and women, access to credit, land and assets, and property rights.
Algerian, Botswana, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, Zambia, and Zimbabwe also got mentions in this category.
South Africa’s ambassador to the AUC, Ndumiso Ntshinga, accepted the award.
In terms of political rights for women, Dlamini-Zuma announced the winner as “”Your gracious host”. Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame received the award. Rwanda is the only country in the world with more female MPs than male ones, with 64% of the seats.
Dlamini-Zuma said nearly half the AU’s member states had made progress in one or more of the categories and hoped more would be done in the next five years.
“There is progress. It might not be as fast as we would like, but there is genuine progress. But what is heartwarming is that every country has something in which it is doing well.”
The theme for this year’s AU summit was human rights, with a specific focus on women’s rights.