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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donates $1bn towards women empowerment

President Cyril Ramaphosa said he would work with France President Emmanuel Macron, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as African presidents to ensure that a good portion of the funding comes to the continent.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addesses a dialogue, convened under the theme 'The Economy is Woman', which is organised by the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWASA) on 29 October 2019. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed to spending a part of their $1 billion dollars for women empowerment in Africa as he readied to become African Union chairperson.

Ramaphosa - who is addressing the dialogue under the theme of ‘The Economy is Woman’ on Tuesday morning - said he and his wife Tshepo Motsepe met Melinda Gates before the event.

He said he would work with France President Emmanuel Macron, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as African presidents to ensure that a good portion of the funding comes to the continent.

But he said the input from the women at the dialogue would form his plan for how the funding should be spent on economic empowerment of women in South Africa and the continent.

“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is going to donate $1 billion to empower women around the world and I said I want part of that money here in Africa. I’m going to make it a huge programme to be appropriated and embraced by various presidents on the continent, and make sure that women are well empowered economically.”

WATCH LIVE: Ramaphosa addresses Businesswomen's Association of South Africa

At the same time, businesswoman and author Basetsana Khumalo said the dialogue must come out with tangible solutions to incorporate women into the economy.

She said as president of the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa, she drove representation of women in public office and the results were showing.

But she said legislation must now drive women participation in business.

“I want to wake up to a South Africa where gender is not even a question of preference, but it’s about competence, talent and the ability. I want to wake up to a country where I have a female president and 25 years later, the trajectory of our people is better, and the unemployment rate has completely diminished.”