A conversation with Nala Council Bogolo J. Kenewendo at COP27

Sharm El-Sheikh, November 15, 2022

Today, the Nalafem delegation met with Hon. Bogolo J.Kenwendo, economist, former Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry in Botswana and a Nala Council member.

During this meeting, Hon Kenwendo acknowledged the challenges faced by the delegation members when trying to advance women rights and environmental awareness in their countries. Yet, she expressed optimism as COP27 itself is a lesson to teach us that challenges are a necessary component of social change processes, and as long as we maintain the momentum and appreciate the accomplishments, challenges will pay off. Hon Kenwendo added that the COP27 being held in Africa this year is a great opportunity for Africans to take the lead. African Indigenous knowledge & practices are best practice for climate action; proven through the vast natural capital still in Africa & nowhere else. As a result, Africa must lead the climate & sustainability discourse and the world must learn from us’”   ~ Hon. Bogolo J.Kenwendo

Hon.Kenwendo encouraged the young feminists of the delegation to keep pushing forward by  creating and developing African solutions and not give up to  setbacks. She highlighted the “Loss and Damage” campaign that made it to the COP agenda for the first time ever, as an example of how African climate champions advocate hard till their voice is heard, their campaign is  now discussed on the agenda and financial support is being negotiated.

Delegation member Mthembukazi Bavuma from South Africa, commented on the meeting saying “It was very inspiring to meet Bogolo , and see her excitement for young women to engage in the conference. Her confidence was a boost I needed to validate my participation at COP27, to ensure that my opinion matters and to not take myself for granted”. 

Additionally, Zuhura Ahmadi Shaweji from Tanzania, a Nalafem delegation member added “Meeting Bogolo gave me hope that women can be in high positions of change, and that’s how empowered women empower other women. Regardless of the changes that comes across in this COP and beyond, we need to push ourselves upwards and onwards and continue our advocacy”

As the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry in Botswana, Bogolo J. Kenwendo implemented reforms to significantly improve the ease of doing business, open up both domestic and international markets, and position the country to succeed in the global value chains as well as the digital economy. During her tenure, she was the youngest Cabinet Minister in Africa and in Botswana’s History. J.Kenwendo is also a vocal advocate for gender equity and protection of children’s rights. She has received global recognition for her work, being appointed as a member of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council and recently in her role as UN Climate Change High-Level Champions’ Special Advisor, Africa Director. She played a leading role in delivering a transformative COP27 that aims at accelerating change for the African continent.

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