AU Hosts 2017 “Girls in ICT” Day

On Girls in ICT Day, marked annually on the fourth Thursday in April, the African Union Commission jointly with the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – Regional Office for Africa, UN Women, the UNDP Regional Office and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa hosted more than 200 high schools Girls from Addis Ababa and 10 high schools Girls from Tanzania at the AU Headquarters.

The girls spent the Day at the premises of the AUC where they had access to computers connected to Internet and took a quiz on ICT and Information technologies, interacted with speakers on ICT careers, entrepreneurship and innovation, social media and social skills, as well as taking part of a dance competition.

A panel discussion was also organized with six inspirational African women where each panelist member spoke on their life experiences, successes and how they use ICT in their day-to-day business activities. The panel was composed of Mrs. Mahawa Kaba Wheeler the Director of Women, Gender & Development at the AUC, Mrs. Rekia Mahamoudou Head of Division, Administration & Human Resources Management Directorate/ AUC, Mrs. Mekdes Mintesenot Abayneh a senior Director from Ethiotelecom, Ms. Yetnebersh Nigussie Human Rights Activist, and Ms. Selome Tadesse Social Activist and Entrepreneur. The panel was moderated by Ms. Letty Chiwara from UNWOMEN who encouraged the young girls to seize the opportunity to ask questions about the ICT sector and to benefit from the experiences of the four inspirational Women who spoke to them in the panel discussion

The official event was preceded by an SMS competition among Girls.

The official segments of the program started with opening remarks from Mr. Andrew Rugege, Regional Director ITU who recalled the importance of ICT as a driver for change to improve people’s lives especially in Africa for a better education, communication and health systems as ICT is considered a cross cutting and powerful tool. For her part, the representative of the Ministry of ICT of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia Ms. Bekala Ibrahim, International Relation & Cooperation Director, highlighted the high importance given by the Government of Ethiopia for the development of the ICT sector and the efforts to attract and promote more women in this very innovative sector as an enabler for women empowerment and economic development of the country.

Mr. Cheikh Bedda Director for Infrastructure and Energy at the AUC speaking on behalf of Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, reiterated the critical role played by women and youth in the development of Africa as per the aspirations of the agenda 2063 and the importance of the Day recalling the AU theme of the year on harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in youth. He noted “this event provides us the opportunity to highlight the importance of science and technology and their critical role in promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and skills development, in order to equip youth and particularly young women to participate fully in the digital economy and in all aspects of the society.”

The officials present at the event including the representatives of the Ministry of ICT and Ministry of Women and Children Affairs of Ethiopia as well as Mr. Cheikh Bedda from the AUC, Mr. Andrew Rugege from ITU and H.E the Ambassador of Tanzania in Addis Ababa presented the prizes to the winners.

The Event was officially closed by Ms. Souhila Amazouz, Senior ICT officer at the Department of Infrastructure and Energy of the AUC. She congratulated the girls for their active participation and thanked the ITU Regional Office for Africa and all the partners who have contributed to make the day a success and looked forward to receiving more Girls from the Continent at the celebration of the 2018 Girls in ICT Day.

The International Girls in ICT Day aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICTs and enable a greater female participation in the ICT is an initiative backed by all ITU Member States in ITU Plenipotentiary Resolution 70 (Rev. Busan, 2014) and celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of April.