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Addressing a discussion of African First Ladies on Science Technology and Mathematics (STEM) in the margins of the 69th UN General Assembly in New York, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission has cautioned that "Africa cannot reach its goal of prosperity without focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
Dr. Dlamini Zuma advised that, "We must make a deliberate effort to ensure that girls have access to primary, secondary and tertiary education and are stirred toward Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics." She also raised the need for role models to spur and encourage the younger generation.
Also speaking at the launch of the discussions which were organised by the Bunengi Foundation, UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, stressed the need for collaboration between the AU Commission, UN Women, Bunengi Foundation and other organisations to ensure that more girls are trained on STEM in Africa.
Recalling the critical role that the First Ladies have to play, Tanzanian President HE Jakaya M. Kikwete told the First Ladies, "you can make a big difference."
President Kikwete shared concrete measures that Tanzania is taking, including deliberately offering scholarships to students pursuing studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The Bunengi Foundation promotes and mentors young African women scientists. The Bunengi Foundation awarded the AUC Chairperson the First Bunengi Foundation Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Leadership Award.
Presenting the award, Chairperson of the Bunengi Foundation, Ms. Savannah Maziya described Dr. Dlamini Zuma as a "STEM girl".
Issued by the AU