By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) – The key to solving Africa's problems is women empowerment, Turkey's first lady Emine Erdogan said Tuesday in an op-ed on Al Jazeera.
Erdogan has worked on numerous humanitarian projects around the world.
She received The Humanitarian Service Recognition Award by the Global Donors Forum in London earlier this month.
Erdogan said women are disproportionately affected by Africa's problems and that Turkey is creating projects to invest in women in areas of poverty, education and economics.
“Having strengthened its relations with the continent in recent years, Turkey found the answer: women's empowerment. This is the key to solving pressing problems in Africa,” she said.
Turkey has already created a number of investments on the continent, including a maternal and child health care center in Niger, women's shelters in Cameroon and a vocational training center in Madagascar.
Erdogan noted that half of the women's population in Africa remain illiterate, and 3,000 young girls from 46 African countries received scholarships at Turkish institutions.
In recent years, 362 women who received their degrees in Turkey returned to their country to serve as doctors, engineers and lawyers.
"It is also absolutely vital to create economic opportunities for African women if they are to become agents of change in their communities," Erdogan said.
When it comes to economic opportunities, the first lady discussed that African women must be given a platform to sell their products at a fair price.
She said that projects in Africa are important to Turkey, which seeks to work with Africans to help address their problems.
"Turkey's development efforts in Africa, which attach special importance to empowering women, seek to inspire African solutions to African problems. They reflect a popular African proverb: 'Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter'," Erdogan added.
Erdogan also wrote an opinion piece for CNN last year. In it she said the world cannot ignore the humanitarian crisis of Rohingya Muslims.