The inability to master knowledge and skills is what divides a developing continent like Africa from other developed countries, Foundation for Community Development of SA president Graca Machel said on Wednesday.

“We, as Africans, we probably have much more natural resources than any other continents which are considered to be developed, but we are under-developed because we don't master knowledge and we don't master the technology,” said Machel.

“That's what divides the world today... there is nothing else. When we begin to master that knowledge... we'll be able to leap into development,” she told businesswomen in Pretoria.”

Machel commended mentors from various countries for guiding 10

women who made it to the final phase of a training and mentoring project for businesswomen, saying they were “building the bridge of knowledge”.

The programme, which focused on entrepreneurial African women, was funded by the Spanish government.

Wednesday's meeting was, among other things, a way to showcase and open doors for investment opportunities.

The women were all from post-conflict countries, such as South Africa, Liberia, Rwanda and Mozambique.

Machel, the wife of former president Nelson Mandela, said the women were reaping the dividends of peace.

She spoke of a need for women to take control of Africa's economies within the next 15 years, and said the world's financial system had no future without women.

“One of the fundamental changes which has to take place in our continent, it's precisely women controlling wealth, leading business and having their voice and aspirations heard... alongside big businesses,” she said.

Machel urged delegates to use their network to change policies in their countries. - Sapa