Context: In the Yaounde Declaration on Solutions following the conference on Forced Displacement related to the Central African Republic Crisis, para 5 of the Preamble I notes with great concern that “over one million Central Africans have been displaced in one of the most protracted crisis with more than 600,000 internally displaced persons, and nearly 700,000 refugees.” The final para of the Preamble concludes with the acknowledgment of “the need for increased cooperation between the Central African Republic and the main hosting countries on security, humanitarian, peacebuilding, and economic development aspects in order to find durable solutions to forced displacement.” The Yaounde recommendations proposed alongside the Yaounde declaration focussed on four key pillars, briefly as summarised as:
To strengthen institutional frameworks of protection of refugees and displaced people; To promote their socio-economic inclusion and empowerment; To enable conditions for safe and sustainable return reintegration; To facilitate regional structures for coordinated operations. (Source: UNHCR.org)
It is in this context and for further support that the G100 Central Africa Meetings were planned and convened by the G100 Migration & Refugees Resettlement wing led by Global Chair Dr. Caroline Sack Kendem.
Taking place in Yaounde at the Hilton hotel, the three days program comprised panels and meetings with government authorities and stakeholders including UN and civil society. In addition, G100 was invited on the inaugural of the fourth edition of the PML (Pro Meet Up and Learn) business summit organised by Soul Sister Madame Carole Mbessa Elongo. The summit engages the private sector at the highest levels of leadership. In association with PML, it was possible to meet the Minister of Commerce as well as call upon the Honb’le Prime Minister of Cameroon.
We also had the great privilege of hosting the G100 conference under the High Patronage of First Lady of Cameroon, Madame Chantal Biya, who kindly mandated her representative to preside on the inaugural, H.E. Minister of Women and Family, Prof. Marie-Thérèse Abena Ondoa. We were also joined by H.E. Minister of Housing & Urban Development, Madame Celestine K. Courtes.
It was an honor to have with us H.E Minister of Solidarity of the Central African Republic, Secretary General of Women’s Organisation, Ambassador of India to Cameroon and Diplomats. We are grateful to the National Media agencies that covered the conference and provided it national visibility.
We extend our gratitude to the experts from United Nations (UN) who all gave unlimited time to prepare and deliver their expertise during the conference, in particular,
IOM : Mr Abdel RAHMANE DIOP
UNHCR : Mr Olivier BEER
UNCHRD : Mr Nouhoum SANGARE
BIT (ILO): Mme KATLEEN FÉLIX
We deeply appreciate the great contribution of H.E. Minister of Forein Affairs through its Secretary General, Mr Oumar CHINMOUN who put his team to work closely with us to make this event successful and also attend the opening plenary ceremony evincing their continued commitment and engagement.
We also met later the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi who shared further his views regarding education, skilling and empowerment of women, especially with digital tools, and the vital need to listen to the young women regards their dreams and aspiration, instead of imposing our version of empowerment on them.
We also met the representative of World Food Program, thanks to the support of Soul Sister Madame Cathy Latiwa Amato.
We were grateful for the visit to the Chantal Biya Foundation. The G100 Founder and President was humbled to make a personal donation of 10,000 pounds in support of the foundation’s endeavours as also announce 100 scholarships for 100 young women for free study at the Jharkhand Rai University in Ranchi in India, particularly for young women in Cameroon and the Central African region struggling with the refugee crisis and in need of further support for education and empowering ecosystems.
Each panel at the conference comprising experts and leaders in various field built further the core of recommendation and commitment to action especially through the international community that G100 is well integrated with.
We also celebrated Shakti Bandhan, our global sisterhood at the Meet and Greet with the Cameroon Country Clubs comprising country chairs, region chairs, city chairs across 25 wings. A deeply moving experience as always of our collective capacity to dream and deliver on a world that works for all.
In our meeting with the Honb’le Prime Minister of Cameroon, H.E. Joseph Ngute, he promised his full support for the free SHEconomy digital platform to onboard women entrepreneurs in Cameroon so they could engage and integrate with the global communities of women on our various platforms.
We were also welcomed on two wonderful dinner meetings in fellowship with our sisters and had the opportunity to meet more women leaders. At the dinner hosted by Madam Minister of Housing and Urban Develpoment, we were humbled to receive the gifts of distinction in the Cameroonian traditions such as the hat and the shawl that are marks of great respect in the African communities.
Some of the ideas emerging from the discussions and meetings included:
*Promotion of education, scholarships for girls, skilling, model all-women run set ups in order to showcase the power of women to do and deliver in economic and industrial fields as well;
* Availability of Bank Finance in Innovative Ways, encouraging start ups by women (inspired by the wonderful presentation of the Ethiopian and presentation example shared by G100 Global Chair for Global Trade, Dr. Nigest Haile;
*Encouraging Corporates to induct more women at all levels of leadership, especially at the top, and of course mandate their buying from women owned businesses;
*Supporting civil society movements and platforms for women to do business, as also integration the local, regional and Internationl movements;
*Adding more women to the judiciary, bureaucracy and government bodies;
*Proactively honouring women role models at all levels with State’s honors and distinctions so their families and communities look up to them with respect of their achievements
*creating a council of women leaders in respective countries and regions to oversee and track progress of all measure and accelerate actions and advocacy in a collective way, with G100 in support.
Further recommendations from the panels included:
• The establishment of an industrial base for mass production of housing at affordable costs and favoring local materials.
• Promotion of Peace by the Women of the World.
• Consolidation of solidarity between States for better crisis management.
• Engagement of women in the political life of the nation.
• Strengthening local capacities to drive development from the ground up.
• Create an institutional vehicle for monitoring conference recommendations.
In particular, recommendations from the economic panel were as follows:
At the Macro/System level:
• To ensure the sustainability of economic integration and interventions for women and refugees: involve national stakeholders in the design and implementation of strategies and activities having an impact on their lives and the future of the locality in which they live (thus providing a sense of ownership).
• To facilitate access for refugees to the benefits from services as provided by state institutions. As also sensitise and train the officials on services available to refugees.
For Economic Integration:
• Training/employability: Strengthen the technical and entrepreneurial skills of refugees to facilitate and increase their economic integration based on their experiences; Integrate refugees and internally displaced persons into community development work.
For Social Protection:
• To promote social protection measures that strengthen resilience, reduce poverty, facilitate labor market integration, combat inequalities and promote social cohesion. Governments are putting in place social protection combining contributory and non-contributory mechanisms, financing and partnership, to guarantee coverage for all. Refugees and other vulnerable groups should be informed of their rights, the benefits available and how to benefit from them.
The role of women remained paramount across all subjects and for all measures, as actors of awareness, agents of change and ambassadors of peace.
Dr. Caroline Sack Kendem, G100 Global Chair, Migrants and Refugees Resettlement
Participants: included G100 Global Chairs:
Nigest Haile, G100 Global Chair, Global Trade
Along with other global advisory council members, country chairs, region chairs, city chairs
And Secretariat led by Founder & President, Dr. Harbeen Arora Rai
With support of Vinay Rai, Founder & President G100 Denim Club