This week, Addis Ababa has played host to the African Union (AU) Summit. While 2015 is the AU’s year of women’s empowerment – one of the issues I’ve focused on here this week – Ebola has, of course, taken centre stage as well. Both issues provide a clear demonstration of the kind of African leadership the UK is working to support.
But we must go further. I am here at the AU summit to lobby for faster progress. I attended an extraordinary breakfast hosted by the First Ladies of Africa to press for progress on ending child marriage, where we heard from a brave young Nigerian woman who had been married at the age of 13 – to a man whose name she didn’t even know – and had her childhood stolen from her. In a halting voice, with a scarf across her face to conceal her identity, she urged us to ensure that other young girls could stay in school, as she had wished, not lose their childhoods, and choose a partner only when ready.
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