By Arnold Mnelemba
LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Former Malawi President Dr. Joyce Banda who is also a global member of the Women Leaders Network has honored minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati and decorated her as a champion for women’s rights in recognition of her outstanding and remarkable role in speaking for the voiceless.
During the event held in the capital Lilongwe, the former Malawi leader also congratulated the newly elected chairperson of the African Union, AU, Business Council Dr. Amany Asfour for becoming the first woman ever to hold that position.
Speaking during the event that attracted a wide range of women from all sectors, Dr. Banda said Kaliati who just defended her PhD thesis last week deserves to be recognised as an outstanding woman who has stood the test of times and proved beyond reasonable doubt that she is no ordinary person in as far as fighting for women’s rights and speaking on behalf of the voiceless is concerned.
“I want to speak about one champion, a patriot, a mother, a wife and a noble character. This person is one Patricia Kaliati, an accomplished politician, someone who fights for rights of women. She speaks on behalf of the voiceless. This time, I was so happy to learn that she has ably defended her PhD thesis and this is the best time for us to honour her, we are proud of her,” said Banda.
Dr. Banda also took this opportunity to congratulate Dr. Amany Asfour Chairperson for Africa Vision for Trade and Consultancy of Egypt who has just been elected Chairperson for the African Union Business Council, first woman to hold that position.
The former Malawi leader said the election of Dr. Asfour will create a conducive environment for African women, Malawian women in particular to engage more profitable businesses and contribute to social-economic transformation of their respective countries.
Minister of Gender Social Welfare and Community Development Patricia Kaliati hailed the gesture by the former Malawi leader and members of the African Women Leaders Network Malawi chapter.
She said the accolade will go along way in encouraging more women to be active and participate fully in any meaningful development of the country.
“I am so honoured and humbled, I will thank your Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda all my life, I owe you a lot. You have demonstrated characters of a true mother and a leader, we have learnt a lot from you, we learn a lot from you today and we will continue learning more from you. God should always bless you and give you a long life,” said Kaliati.
Kaliati dedicated the honour to all women in Malawi and pledged to continue with her hardworking spirit in the interest of women, children and the vulnerable.
In her remarks, Dr. Amany Asfour said she is committed to support women and African private sector as well as Small and Medium Enterprises including women and youth to have business linkages in a quest to increase intra Africa trade among the business sector in and within the continent.
“We will be able to achieve intra Africa trade by exploring investment opportunities, identifying markets, adding value to our products and doing more market studies. We will have to link business partners and support women businesses and youth entrepreneurs to find good markets for their products,” she said.
Dr. Asfour said popularising the policies and trade agreements among all the business community in different sectors will be crucial in this drive while emphasising on the need for more training and capacity building for women, youth and SMEs.
About the author: Arnold Mnelemba is a special assistant in the office of Former President