More than 100 youth from over 10 Eastern African countries have convened in Kigali for a week to discuss their challenges.
They are meeting under the theme, "Moral values; the key to a brighter future." The meeting was organised by East African Youth Forum (EAYF) in collaboration with Umuhoza, a local NGO that advocates for peace-building and reconciliation.
EAYF is a regional youth leadership forum designed to guide the youth on ethical living and responsible leadership.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and ICT, Rosemary Mbabazi, who opened the forum, challenged the youth to be aggressive and avoid dependence on their governments for jobs.
"You should be the agents of change; it's your responsibility to develop your communities by being innovative and emulating other successful people," she said.
Participants said unemployment is their biggest challenge.
"In Ethiopia, many youth graduate every year, but the unemployment rate is escalating. My government has no clear approach to intervene; even the few initiatives are poorly implemented," Nahom Tsegaye from Ethiopia said.
Gloria Steven Masangia from Tanzania said most violent demonstrations are done by unemployed youth in Africa urging immediate intervention to reverse the trend.
More than 65 per cent of the population in Eastern Africa are youth.
In Rwanda, government has embarked on encouraging young nationals to join technical schools, which have curricular tailor-made to churn out job creators.