By Tahirou Gouro

Niamey (Niger), September 21, 2022 – The Director of the Sub-regional Office for West Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (SRO-WA/ECA), chaired on Thursday a press briefing on Youth and Women’s empowerment led by her Office.

This event is is part of the communication strategy of ECA through the organization of press briefings in order to better inform the media on its interventions.

This event was held in a context where African youths and women are yet to participate fully in and benefit from the continent development processes, but the policy commitments at national and regional levels, have not always been matched by actions on the ground.

During this press briefing, the Director of SRO-WA/ECA, Ngone Diop explained that in 2021, her Office organized a Regional Forum on the theme ” Empowering Women and Youths to Spur Africa’s Transformation Agenda” in Lagos, Nigeria with the view to support the socio-economic empowerment of women and youth, which is critical to the realization of the twin imperatives of harnessing demographic dividend and accelerating West Africa’s structural transformation process, using the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as an anchor.

“The Forum brought together more than 500 women and young entrepreneurs from across West African countries”, said the Director of SRO-WA/ECA.

“At the end of the Forum, the West African Business Linkage Platform (WABLP) was launched to promote linkages between women and young entrepreneurs on the one hand, and to link them with business champions on the other. The WABLP is a cloud portal which facilitates automatic business linkages, resources sharing, marketing referral and resources carpooling, under one roof”, added Ngone Diop.

According to the Director of SRO-WA/ECA “political access to young people and women is fundamental to accelerating the development of the continent. Member States have ratified regional and global frameworks when it comes to ensuring gender equality and youth participation”.

Regarding granting political access to youth and women, Ngone Diop said that “Tackling the glass ceiling is vital to ensuring quality political decision-making, that it is inclusive and responds to the needs of the population”.

The Director of SRO-WA/ECA, Ngone Diop concluded this press briefing by saying to the journalists that they have “One key role to play with youth and women so that they can be informed about the West Africa Business Linkage Platform and all the work that ECA is doing”.


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