10 October 2018

Africa: Place Youth At the Centre of Transformation--African Policy Makers Urged

YouthConnekt Africa Summit kicked off in Rwanda's capital city Kigali, where African policymakers were urged to place youth at the center of rapid social and economic transformation on the continent.

Rwanda hosts the October 8-10 event that seeks to promote innovation among youth in jobs and technology.

"Youth empowerment and capacity development are central to Africa's social and economic transformation," said Ahunna Eziakonwa, assistant administrator and director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), during a panel session.

"We need to invest in our youth and work with them for the better future of our continent," she said.

To prevent unemployment, forced migration and conflicts among young people in Africa, government leaders and policymakers should adopt and implement policies that place youth at the center of economic and social transformation, Eziakonwa said.

Despite the strong growth performance of Africa economies, Africa has been unable to create sufficient jobs for the youth, said Sarah Anyang Agbor, commissioner for human resources, science and technology at the African Union Commission.

There is an urgent need to focus on special measures to ensure that Africa's youth have access to right and required skills, knowledge as well as mentorship and entrepreneurship finance and support, she said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the summit, Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente called on the African youth to rise to the challenge and take ownership of the African transformation journey.

"With Africa's population projected to double by 2050, any plan for improving the future of Africa, must include the role of young people," he said.

Currently 420 million youth aged between 15 and 35 live in Africa, but one-third of them are unemployed, according to a brochure distributed by the organisers of the summit.

Africa's youth population is rapidly growing and expected to double to over 830 million by 2050, the booklet said. Monday's summit also launched the YouthConnekt Hub, a platform to spur youth involvement in Africa's development agenda.

The summit has brought together more than 2,500 delegates from 90 countries from across Africa and beyond. This year's is the second YouthConnekt Africa Summit following the first summit held in Kigali in July 2017.


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