The world needs more women in peace and security.  When diverse women participate in peace negotiations, the quality and durability of peace agreements increases, and when women are signatories of peace agreements, they are more likely to be implemented. A major component of Africa’s prosperity, is peace and security. Roles in peace and security were stereotypically set aside for men.  However these four women are breaking the glass ceiling, protecting the continent and trailblazing by bringing women’s voices and leadership in the area of peace and security.  Here are four African women in peace and security.

Marie-Noëlle Koyara (Central African Republic)

She is Africa | African women in peace and security | Marie-Noëlle Koyara

Marie-Noëlle Koyara (born 1955) is the current Minister of National Defense of the Central African Republic. She is the first female defense minister in the country since it declared its independence in 1960. She previously held a number of ministerial posts and served as the representative of the Central African Republic in the Food and Agriculture Organization. Koyara studied at school at Bouar and Bangui. She dropped out of high school to be accepted to the National Police, where she became one of the first women even accepted. She returned to school, then pursued university studies, graduating as an agriculture engineer. She held number of positions in the agricultural development projects, as well as worked with the African Development Foundation, before being appointed minister of rural promotion and later minister of women promotion and social affairs. She held these ministerial posts between 1993 and 1996.

Subsequently, Koyara became the Central African representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization. In the second cabinet of Nicolas Tiangaye, in June 2013, she was appointed the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, then held the post of Minister of State of Labor and Public Affaires, becoming the first ever female Minister of State in the country, then Minister of State of Rural Development, and in January 2015 she was appointed the first State Minister of National Defense.

Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula (South Africa)

She is Africa | African women in peace and security | Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula

Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula (born 13 November 1956) is a South African politician who was appointed Minister of Defence and Military Veterans in June 2012. She has a long history serving her country.  In 1984, she left South Africa to undergo military training in Angola and the Soviet Union. During this time she served as the head of a commission that was set up by the ANC to investigate desertions of ANC Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) members to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Angola.  In 1993, she became the Secretary-General of the ANC Women’s League. Before her appointment as Minister of Home Affairs, she held the position as Deputy-Minister of the department.  She was Minister of Home Affairs from 2004 to 2009 and Minister of Correctional Services from 2009 to 2012.

Aisha Mohammed Mussa (Ethiopia)

She is Africa | African women in peace and security | Aisha Mohammed Mussa

Aisha Mohammed Mussa is an Ethiopian engineer and politician who was the country’s Defense Minister from October 2018 until 18 April 2019, when she was appointed Minister of Construction and Urban Development.  Mohammed is from the country’s Afar Region in the north east. She has a degree in Civil Engineering and a masters in Transformational Leadership and Change. Mohammed is a civil engineer and previously served as construction minister. She also served as Minister of Tourism and Culture. She was appointed Defence Minister by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on 16 October 2018, one of ten women appointed to the twenty member cabinet, making Ethiopia and Rwanda the only African countries to have equal gender representation in their cabinets. Mohammed was the country’s first female defence minister.

Raychelle Awour Omamo (Kenya)

She is Africa | African women in peace and security | Raychelle Omamo

Raychelle Awour Omamo (born July 1962) is a Kenyan lawyer and politician.  She served as the Cabinet Secretary for Defence for 7 years in the Uhuru Kenyatta administration. She is the first female in the country to hold the post.Currently she serves as the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

Omamo studied law at the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK. She is a Senior Counsel and an Advocate of the High Court for 27 years. She was the first female chairperson of the Law Society of Kenya from 2001 to 2003 after serving as a council member from 1996 to 2000 and Kenyan first female ambassador to France, Portugal, The Holy See and Serbia as well as the Permanent Delegate of the Kenya to UNESCO. She was a member of the Task Force on the Establishment of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission for Kenya.

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