Deputy Minister of Transport, Dikeledi Magadzi, has emphasised the importance on removing structural distortions in economies to enable women and youth empowerment.
“We are asked to respond with urgency to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan by removing structural distortions in our economies and combat high-levels of unemployment and under-employment, especially among women and youth, address inequalities in the labour market and adequately mainstream gender concerns,” Magadzi said.
Addressing the virtual Southern African Transport Conference on the impact of COVID-19 on women and small business on Wednesday, Magadzi said there is an urgent need for economic improvement in the region that will curb a further negative impact on women.
“The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women and girls’ socio-economic welfare is threatening to reverse the hard-won gains in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment,” the Deputy Minister said.
She noted that the pandemic had also exacerbated public debt vulnerabilities.
“These have risen quite high according to research and will continue to rise in many countries, which raises questions about the ability of governments to implement the most basic developmental programmes.
“In fact, it is clear from studies that the debt burden of many countries in the region will affect investments in education, health and infrastructure in the short to medium term.
“Given the impact on education, health and infrastructure development, it will remain difficult to continue with the implementation of the necessary transformative actions planned by governments in the region to improve the condition of women and girls,” the Deputy Minister said.–SAnews