Africa: Statement On the 1st Africa CDC Youth Pre-Conference

press release


10-11 DECEMBER 2022 A side event at the margins of the 2nd International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2022)


Africa continues to experience the highest incidence of public health emergencies annually. Therefore, the African Union Heads of State, Governments, and participating Heads of Delegation called for the full implementation of the New Public Health Order for Africa during the sidelines of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

African youth constitute over 65% of the African population of more than 1.3 billion people. Behind this number are young health professionals and health advocates who hold great potential to innovate and advance Africa's health. They play a critical role in African countries in promoting public health and reaching communities and thus, are partners, assets and a prerequisite for a sustainable health security in Africa.

It is against this backdrop that Africa CDC convened the inaugural Youth Pre-Conference on 10 - 11 December 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda, at the margins of CPHIA 2022. The theme of the pre-conference was "Meaningful youth engagement for advancing sustainable health security in Africa". This ties in well with the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, Aspiration 1 on Health, getting young people involved in health issues.

This inaugural Youth Pre-Conference was designed to kick-start a long-term strategic engagement between Africa CDC and young people in Africa, to mainstream their role in the advancement of sustainable health security for the continent.

It aims to provide a collaborative, open, and inclusive space for young people to critically reflect on the current state of public health in Africa, share perspectives on their role in public health, and prospects for enhancing meaningful youth engagement in this area.

Participants were drawn from various state and non-state institutions, groups, and networks from national, regional, and continental levels. They included young people with backgrounds and experiences in medical science, public health, health policy, and health technology as well as representatives from youth-led and youth-oriented organizations, networks, associations, and academia.


Based on the fruitful discussions and valuable insights during the Youth Pre-Conference, the following actions for a meaningful engagement of young people are recommended to advance sustainable health security in Africa:

  • Inclusive youth engagement in the public health discourse
  • Institutionalize adequate representation of African Youth in the discourses on public health at national, regional, continental and global levels.
  • Develop a strategy for a meaningful and inclusive youth engagement to advance Africa CDC's vision of a New Public Health Order.
  • Youth mainstreaming in decision-making and accountability
  • Ensure better youth mainstreaming in decision-making within Africa CDC on health-related issues in Africa through the establishment of a formal structure for youth engagement to be embedded within Africa CDC.
  • Establish structures that engage young people on the progress made towards the implementation of health strategies and policies at the national, regional and continental level.
  • Facilitate a collaborative public health network on the continent
  • Provide a platform for peer-to-peer dialogue and intergenerational discussion to enhance exchange and to scale up best practices across the continent.
  • Harness the creativity of youth in the development of youth friendly information content and platforms for engagement on public health and the New Public Health Order.
  • Capacity building of emerging public health leaders
  • Promote the recruitment of African youth with specialized skills through capacity building and training as well as the establishment of a continental Young Professionals in Public Health Program within the Africa CDC.
  • Provide scholarships, bursaries, and sponsorships for educational and practical trainings to aid emerging public health leaders.
  • Provide emerging public health leaders on the continent with necessary skills and capabilities for public health policy and research, technology and innovation as well as health economics through mentorships.

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