H.E. Prime Minister Erna Solberg visited Addis Ababa 8.-9. February, where she completed a busy program meeting a significant number of African Heads of State and Government, including Ethiopia’s President Zahle-Work Zewde and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. She also participated at three side-events of the 33rd African Union Summit, in addition to opening the “African Independence. Norwegian Solidarity” exhibition together with South Africa's Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.
This year's African Union theme is "Silencing the guns by 2020", aiming to end war, civil conflict, gender-based violence, violent conflicts and prevent genocide on the continent. In the margins of the 33rd AU Summit, Prime Minister Erna Solberg started her two-days visit speaking at the High-level Breakfast Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa and the official launch of the African Women Leadership Fund (AWLF). Norway is a consistent partner of the African Union's Women-Empowerment initiatives, and Prime Minister Solberg expressed support for AWLF and the scaling up of financial inclusion for African women and gender equality.
Gender equality and empowering women being key priorities for Norway, Solberg also met with H.E. President Sahle-Work Zewde and Ethiopian women leaders to discuss the importance of female participation in business, peacemaking, and leadership.
The Prime Minister later opened the exhibition "African Independence. Norwegian Solidarity", which has been developed by the Liliesleaf Trust in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria. The exhibition is devoted to Norway's assistance and support to de-colonization and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and explores the transformative power of international solidarity and shared values in ensuring human rights, democracy and development. The purpose of the exhibition is to reflect on the values of lessons learned from the past when addressing the challenges faced in the world today.
To mark the 20th anniversary of UNSC's resolution 1325, the AU and the UN's Office to the African Union with Norwegian financial support launched the commemorative book "She stands for peace. 20 Years, 20 Journeys". The book tells the story of 20 African women who have been instrumental in securing peace in their communities. The book explores 20 truly motivating stories, while also forming a platform to build a future of women-inclusiveness in peace, security and development.
As chair of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, Solberg also attended the AU side event on Blue Economy, where she presented the Panel's achievements and shared experiences from Norway. AU’s Blue Economy Strategy provides an excellent framework for joint action to unlock the potential of Africa’s Blue Economy. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of good governance in the process towards a blue economy.
The Prime Minister furthermore completed a busy bilateral program, meeting with several African Heads of State and Government, discussing bilateral cooperation and priority issues linked to development, gender equality, climate policy, human rights, education, the blue economy, peacebuilding, and conflict resolution and prevention. The Prime Minister in all meetings underlined Norway’s long standing support and close cooperation as a #ConsistentPartner with African states and the African Union.
Global health is a central pillar for Norway’s international efforts. The Prime Minister visited Lærdal Gobal Health’s project “50 000 Happy Birthdays” in Addis Abeba. Lærdal Global Health has established collaboration with authorities and midwife associations in several African countries in order to strengthen their training, and has been integrated into the general midwife education in Ethiopia.
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