President Obama Urges Kenya To Empower Women and Girls

US President Barack Obama has challenged Kenya to empower women and girls to achieve its development dream faster.

The growth of Kenya's economy, he said on Sunday, will be greatly determined by girl education and employment of women.

In his address to Kenyans from Kasarani, Nairobi, the US leader pledged support to Kenyan and African youth through the Youth of Africa Leadership Initiative (YALI), an initiative that seeks to mentor the next generation of African leaders.

President Obama said the fact that Kenya comes from a past where women were treated as second-class citizens does not mean things have to stay that way.

He urged a stop to repressive traditions such as female genital mutilation and early marriages, practices that he said stand in the way of progress.

He highlighted the great strides made by Kenyan women as evidence of the value of women in the society.

Among the women mentioned was Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, who in the 90s championed the fight for the environmental conservation against a strong tide of apathy

"Kenya continues to carve out a distinct place among the nations. The country is a leader for conservation, following in the footprints of Wangari Maathai," he said.

He also cited key innovations by youthful Kenyan women as examples to others, most notably M-Farm, an app for farmers that was founded by 31-year-old computer-scientist Jamila Abbas.
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