Abuja — The United Nations Youth Envoy, Ms Jayathma Wickramanayake is expected into the country today, with a focus on female genital mutilation (FGM), youth participation and empowerment, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), ending child marriage, gender-based violence (GBV) and adolescent sexual and reproductive health.
Wickramanayake who is 27 years and expected to tour five countries in Africa, will in addition have the opportunity to engage through bilateral meetings as well as high level events, with high level government officials, youth groups and youth leaders, bilateral and multilateral development partners, the UN country teams and civil society through bilateral meetings and during a series of high level events hosted by UNFPA in conjunction with other UN entities and partners.
In a statement released by UNFPA, it stated that Africa is the most youthful continent in world and to harness its demographic dividend, young people should be considered first in the scheme of things. It said by 2030, it is projected that the number of youths in Africa will have increased by 42 per cent. "We must promote leadership of adolescents and youths, particularly adolescent girls, to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health.
"We must increase investment in young people to harness the demographic dividend. How well young people navigate adolescence and youth will determine not only the course of their own lives, but that of the world.
"What Africa will look like in 15 years will depend on what we do to ignite the power and potential of youths in the region. We must prioritise youths participation in the adoption and implementation of policies that protect their rights.
"Putting young people first means giving them a platform and a voice to be a part of the conversation on issues affecting them and strengthening their ability to advance human rights and development issues such as health, education and employment. Young women are pivotal to the well-being of society, and to advancing human development and economic growth #PutYoungPeopleFirst."
She is expected to leave Nigeria on Sunday, for South Africa after visiting Senegal, The Gambia and Ghana.