World leaders called to champion women, children health agenda

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on Heads of State and Government to join the Global Leaders Network to champion the women, children and adolescent health agenda. 

The President was addressing the High Level Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) event on Monday at the UNICEF headquarters in New York, USA. 

“As Heads of State, we can provide leadership and inspire ambitious action. We have the convening power to mobilise our peers and advance policies, programmes and financing initiatives for improved outcomes.

“As part of our agenda, we must challenge the disregard in many communities and countries for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women,” President Ramaphosa said. 

The President spent the first and second day of his working visit to the United States - for the 78th United Nations General Assembly - discussing sustainable development goals and investments in South Africa. 

On Sunday, President Ramaphosa held a bilateral meeting with Professor Klaus Schwab, CEO of the World Economic Forum (WEF), to discuss South Africa’s participation at WEF and the progress the country is making on the reforms aimed at advancing inclusive economic growth. 

The President also met with United States Congressman, Gregory Meeks. Both President Ramaphosa and Congressman Meeks acknowledged the need for greater cooperation between the US and South Africa in tackling global issues that are impacting the African continent, primarily, the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Africa. 

“Congressman Meeks welcomed the briefing on the conclusion of the investigation into the docking of the LadyR vessel in Simmons Town, South Africa, and expressed his commitment to contributing to the strengthening of US-Africa diplomatic and trade relations, and to attending the AGOA forum in South Africa later this year,” the Presidency said. 

President Ramaphosa concluded his first day of engagements with a meeting with the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

The two leaders discussed developments related to the reform of the international financial architecture and other initiatives in support of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the reform of the United Nations Security Council. The Secretary General commended South Africa for its important role in advancing these efforts.  

The President also delivered remarks at the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, where he joined the call to address the fundamental development challenges that have long characterised an unequal world. 

“The President emphasised the need for targeted investment, technology transfer and capacity building support especially in key areas such as industralisation, infrastructure, agriculture, water, energy, education and health. The President further underscored the requirement for sustained financial support, including supportive trade policies from the international community,” the Presidency said. 

Later on Monday, President Ramaphosa led the business roundtable discussions with the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-Africa Business Center. 

President Ramaphosa used the occasion to position South Africa’s economic reform agenda, which is focused on expanding industrial capacity as an opportunity for more US investment that can leverage off the demonstrated manufacturing base of South Africa. –