Youth from 25 African countries have convened in Kigali for a three-day forum to chart ways of harnessing their potential in the implementation of African Union’s Agenda 2063.
The forum was organised by the State of the Union (SOTU), a coalition of civil society organisations working together to hold African governments accountable for ratifying and implementing African Union decisions.
Osai Ojigho, the SOTU coordinator, said it’s vital to bring African youth voices to debate around most of Africa’s challenges.
“We have done a lot of work with different communities around Africa for the last five years, but we have realised that youth are generally not involved in decision making and they are not participating in some of the activities being done at the continental level,” she noted.
She talked of the need to stimulate the youth to take actions considering available opportunities for the young people within the new framework of the AU Agenda 2063.
The AU agenda highlights plans for a united prosperous Africa based on shared values and a common destiny, free from poverty and disease.
It calls on all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and a united Africa.
Speaking at the forum, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister for Youth and ICT, called for harnessing of youth skills, knowledge, and resources to help build the African continent.
“We have already acknowledged what African challenges and problems are, the strategies to fight and stop them as well, and the resources that can facilitate the whole process. What remains now is to engage the young people in all decision making and implementation processes, bring skills and knowledge together, and the resources and all African people to develop our continent,” he said.
Nsengimana also challenged the young people to help find solutions that the African continent needs to curb youth unemployment, extreme poverty and other prevalent issues.
“Why would anyone die crossing the sea simply because he is running away from his continent to find a living outside yet we have young people who are skilled and have knowledge to work; this is one of the problems that should be addressed by the youth,” he said.
Tsonam Cleanse Akpeloo, a member of Ghanaian parliament, said African youth need to focus more on entrepreneurship to address unemployment.
The forum also attracted civil society representatives, parliamentarians, inter-governmental and multi-lateral institution representatives, and other stakeholders.
The meeting will involve plenary and related parallel sessions to allow for debate and dialogue among the participants.
Source: The New Times