Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed's video message to the Young African Women Fellows programme, a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Union Commission, held today:
I am extremely delighted to speak with you today as you look to begin the next steps of your journey after an eventful and impactful year globally. I congratulate you on your accomplishment as the inaugural cohort of young African women leaders. Your exemplary behaviour and commitment have paved the way for others and has shown that the African continent is full of bright stars.
I remember the personal and professional connection I had with you all, when we met in August last year. And as I did then, I would encourage you to do the following three things:
First, always have the courage of your convictions. You are an amazing group of young women and I want to encourage you to be comfortable in your own skins, to stay true to yourself and break the glass ceilings.
Second, when you leave a room, leave it well, as you never know where the occupants of that room will find you. I hope to see you one day as leaders, influencing not only Africa but the world.
And third, I encourage you to continue the intergenerational conversation and support as you move to the next chapters in your lives. I see myself in you, and know how important it is for young African women to benefit from the older and wiser generation who have dedicated much of their lives to serving humanity — not only in the United Nations, but from all walks of life.
It is my hope that the future of African women leaders and the pivotal role that this Fellowship Programme, pioneered by UNDP, will continue to play an important role in nurturing young women leaders from the African continent for generations to come.
I leave you with the following parting words: No matter how successful one may become, family always counts and God is a reliable friend.
Finally, I would like to extend my deepest congratulations to UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, and especially to my dear sister, the Regional Director for Africa, Ahunna Eziakonwa, for this great initiative, and to you — the Fellows — congratulations on this great achievement. I am counting on you to rewrite the African narrative — better yet, to be the African narrative. I wish you the very best for now and always.