West Africa: UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem to address AU Heads of State and Government

Trucks loaded with goods queue up for clearance at a Uganda-South Sudan border post.
press release

Niamey, Niger: July 5, 2019:  The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem, is expected in Niamey, Niger from 5th to 8th July 2019, for a series of engagements organized on the margins of the African Union (AU) Mid-Year Coordination Meeting, as well as an Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government to officially launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

In Niamey, the UNFPA Executive Director will address AU Heads of State and Government at a dinner courtesy of President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, host President of the current Summit, during which she will report on the progress made 25 years after the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), was adopted in Cairo in 1994. Within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, Dr. Natalia Kanem will be assessing the gaps and challenges, while inviting the Heads of States and Government to recommit efforts aimed at accelerating the promise of availing access to sexual and reproductive health and rights to millions of women and girls.

The Executive Director will take part in a roundtable conference aimed at mobilizing resources for the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) project scheduled for 6th July, under the aegis of President Mahamadou Issoufou. The successes of the SWEDD project have led to increased demands from Member States to scale up its interventions. This roundtable will be an opportunity for all Heads of State, First Ladies, Technical and Financial Partners, CEOs and NGOs to reaffirm their commitment to invest more in favor of women and girls to accelerate growth in Africa.

On Sunday, 7th July, Dr. Kanem will also participate in a high-level meeting on the elimination of child marriage and the promotion of girls' schooling in West Africa. The meeting is at the initiative of the First Lady of Niger, Dr. Lalla Malika Issoufou, President of the Tattali Iyali Foundation, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). African First Ladies are expected to attend, together with the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed. This meeting is being supported UNFPA, UN Women, UNDP, UNICEF and Plan International.

The UNFPA Executive Director will visit some projects in the field and also hold audiences with dignitaries on the margins of the AU Summit.

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