UAE Ambassador interacts with women entrepreneurs from Rwanda Muslim Community

By Théophile Niyitegeka
On 12 November 2021 at 10:02

The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Rwanda, Hazza Alqahtani has commended Rwanda’s efforts to promote women empowerment.

He made the appreciation on Thursday 11th November 2021 as he interacted with 25 women entrepreneurs from the Rwanda Muslim Community who were also taken through the UAE’s gender equality and women’s empowerment initiatives.

“I want to highlight that we recognize the great initiatives put in place by the Government of Rwanda in empowering women and fostering gender equality in all sectors. The results have been outstanding,” he said.

After the devastating effects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda placed gender equality and women empowerment at the forefront to drive the country’s vision for development.

Rwandan women have seized available opportunities and made major strides in realizing their dreams and impacting their respective communities.

Today, Rwanda is a global leader in women participation in legislative decision-making positions with 61.3% female members of Parliament and also ranked 9th globally in closing gender gaps according to the Global Gender Gap Report, 2020.

In addition, 52% of the Cabinet members are women, among the Judges and clerks, women stand at 49.7% while in the local government leadership, women occupy 45.2 % as Members of District Councils.

Rwanda and the UAE enjoy cordial relations and share a common vision with regard to women empowerment.

As he interacted with women entrepreneurs during the event held at UAE Embassy in Kigali, Amb. Alqahtani reminisced on different programs initiated by the UAE Government in Rwanda where women empowerment is always taken into consideration.

“To name a few, the Embassy held a successful training in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board and the Ministry of Education, to Empower 100 Women Future Leaders in Hospitality and Tourism Excellence. The training was conducted by highly qualified trainers from the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management and was attended by young women working in Rwanda’s tourism and hospitality sector,” he noted.

Amb. Alqahtani also reflected on the inspirational words of the founding father of the UAE, late Sheikh Zayed highlighting that a woman plays a critical role in the society.

“The woman is half of the society, any country which pursues development should not leave her in poverty or illiteracy. I am on the woman’s side,” he quoted.

He went on to explain that the UAE Constitution guarantees equal rights to all of its citizens, including women who have the same legal status, access to education, the right to practice and pursue different careers, the right to own as many as possible properties as men do among others.

The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report revealed that the UAE is one of the region’s best performing countries having closed the overall gender gap by 66%. The report assessed women’s economic opportunity, education, health and political empowerment.

Among others, the World Bank’s 2020 Women, Business and the Law Report also named UAE as one of the world’s top ten economies exhibiting the most progress towards gender equality.

The UAE also ranked 35 out of 189 countries in women’s empowerment according to the 2019 Human Development Report commissioned by the UNDP.

In 2015, the UAE Gender Balance Council, a federal entity, was established to enhance gender balance in the public sector for women in the UAE and aims to help place the UAE among the top 25 countries for gender equality by 2021.

Later in 2017, the UAE Gender Balance Council in coordination with the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) introduced the Gender Balance Guide, a tool for both the public and private sectors with the aim to decrease gender inequality.

Other efforts include launch of the Arab Charter of Women’s Rights on October 8th 2019 in Abu Dhabi to serve as a guideline for all Arab League member states with an aim to inform legislation and ensure Arab women’s rights among others.

Regarding representation in government positions, the Emirati women in the UAE hold two-thirds of public sector jobs, with 30% in leadership roles and 15% in technical and academic roles. Women also make up 20% of the UAE’s diplomatic corps.

The UAE has a population of approximately 10 million.

Sheikh Salim Hitimana, the Mufti of Rwanda has commended the UAE for its initiatives to advance women empowerment that has been extended to Rwandans through Rwanda Muslim Community highlighting that it will be a critical towards fully overcoming barriers that hindered women’s involvement in different activities.

“There came a time when women Muslims were not actively engaged in businesses and other income generating activities due to social and cultural constraints. With the visionary leadership of Rwanda, women inclusion has been achieved gradually that we have many women running businesses and other activities to spur their economic growth,” he said.

“The current progress is commendable. We have optimism that with more great initiatives advancing women’s empowerment, we shall achieve women inclusion to the desired extent,” added Sheikh Salim Hitimana.

This is the second interactive discussion held by the UAE Ambassador, following the first meeting he held in November 2020 with entrepreneurs from the Private Sector Federation Chamber of Women.

The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Rwanda, Hazza Alqahtani in a group photo with women entrepreneurs from Rwanda Muslim Community.
Women entrepreneurs from Rwanda Muslim Community following discussions at UAE Embassy in Rwanda.
The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Rwanda, Hazza Alqahtani speaking to women entrepreneurs from Rwanda Muslim Community.
Sheikh Salim Hitimana, the Mufti of Rwanda has commended the UAE for its initiatives to advance women empowerment.