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Be champions of peace and unity, Mama Rachel Ruto urges African First Ladies at OAFLAD

The First Lady of the Republic of Kenya, Mama Rachel Ruto, has urged African First Ladies to become champions of peace and unity in their countries and beyond while building on the successes of their predecessors to deliver for the communities they serve.

She made the remarks while delivering the closing remarks at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The event, which was held on Saturday 17th June 2023, brought together current and former First Ladies of Africa, sponsors, partners and other stakeholders to reflect on the achievements and challenges of OAFLAD in the last two decades.

Mama Rachel Ruto expressed her honour and gratitude to be part of OAFLAD, which she joined following the inauguration of President William Samoei Ruto, on 13th September 2022.

She noted that First Ladies have an obligation to empower women and children in their countries and beyond.

“By using our convening power and platforms to empower our women and children, we will empower the whole continent, for what feeds the mother feeds the child,” She said.

The First Lady also called on leaders to open up Africa and create opportunities for its youthful population, with more than 400 million between the ages of 15 and 35.

“Let us build a continent that is borderless, one that creates opportunities for itself through trade, infrastructure, travel, jobs and more, supporting similar initiatives being championed by our African Presidents,” Mama Rachel Ruto added.

She also commended her fellow First Ladies for their presentations, which demonstrated the role they are playing to address the issues that affect the most vulnerable in their countries.

The First Lady also used the opportunity to emphasise the importance of peace and security, both at the home and at the national level. She urged her fellow First Ladies to become champions of peace in their nations and beyond, and to leverage on their positions to advance the development agenda of Africa.

She also noted that Africa is the current point of interest for the whole world, and that any global organisation that seeks relevance going forward must be in Africa or have Africa in mind. She cited the forecast by Brookings Institute that Africa will have an average GDP growth of 3.2% in the continent, driven by medium-sized economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mama Rachel Ruto delivering her speech at OAFLAD