Africa Unites for Youth: Reaching out to African Youth by Bridging the Gap.

In April 2019, the African Union Commission (AUC) launched a new initiative that focuses on creating direct opportunities for the development of youth in Africa, to actively and meaningfully drive the full realization of Africa’s Agenda 2063. The “1 Million By 2021 Initiative” aims to concretely reach millions of African youth from across the continent with opportunities and interventions in the key areas of Employment, Entrepreneurship, Education and Engagement (4E’s), which will accelerate socioeconomic development on the continent.

African Union Commission Chairperson, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, during the official opening called upon all stakeholders to join him in this commitment to our future by stating that this initiative will seek to foster new approaches towards addressing the multifaceted challenges confronting the youth on the continent. It is his expectation that it will embolden various stakeholders to develop creative ideas and help build an ecosystem of efficiencies across the continent in furtherance of youth development.

The initiative is set to build upon the progress Africa is making in improving capacities through education and skills development; creating, as well as establishing conducive environments for opportunities in employment and entrepreneurship for young people; and ensuring they are meaningfully engaged in the development agenda of the continent.

During the four-day Pan African Forum, over 400 young people from across the continent gathered to co-create solutions on the 4Es’. Development partners, the private sector, institutions of higher learning and the civil societies were also in attendance to engaged with the youth and pledged their support for the initiative.

Recognizing the burgeoning youth population on the African continent, and the necessity to implement new approaches to solving existing problems, the initiative seeks to embolden stakeholders to consider new perspectives, test new ideas and scale up promising practices across the continent. This will be done through leveraging partnerships among key continental players in the development space and the private sector, leading to the incorporation of a sustainable ecosystem built along collaborative and pan-African lines.

Aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063 speaks to “An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children”. This recognizes the paramount importance of harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend through investing in its youth. The African Union defines youth as persons between the ages of 15 to 35.

The Pan Africa Programme is excited to be partnering with the African Union and other strategic partners on this as it is aligned with our strategic objectives and vision for the Continent. We are currently in the process of developing a Youth Engagement Strategic Framework that will encompass aspects of Voice and Accountability, Access and Control, Youth and Peace Keeping, Facilitation of Knowledge Development and Transfers, Emerging Technologies, among other critical issues.

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