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African leaders pledge to centralise youth in development agenda

Over 10000 African youth and African leaders concluded the three-day YouthConnet Summit with assurances of having young people at the forefront of Africa’s trade, health, climate, technology and other sustainable development pillars.

The annual continental summit took place for the fifth time in Kigali Rwanda from 13th-15 October 2020 and brought together participants from 30 African countries.

While presiding over the closing of the summit this afternoon, the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Rt. Hon. Edouard Ngirente commented that African leaders “know that the most important resource in Africa is our youth, in particular, skilled African youth”

The Prime Minister of Rwanda, Rt. Hon. Edouard Ngirente addressing the attendees

Keita Oulie, the YouthConnekt Africa Executive Director explained that young people’s involvement in Africa’s development agenda will shape the narrative on Africa’s development.

“Africa [will be] portrayed for what it truly is: a continent rich in talent, natural resources and resilience, Africa is indeed the future.”

The Secretary General of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene said called on the youth to drive the free market strategy of AfCFTA

“The AfCFTA is not about governments. It is young entrepreneurs, Small and Medium Enterprises and women creating jobs, contributing to Africa’s economy” he said.

“It is also not large corporations only that should benefit from the AfCFTA; it has to be you, young Africans, the future of this continent” Mene added.

Toky Rasolofomamy, a youth delegate from Madagascar said the summit forged enough connections among African youth.

“I’m glad I participated at the YouthConnekt Africa 2022 Summit. I learnt a lot and created connections with fellow youth who I hope to work with in the future.”

The United Nations Development Programme partnered with YouthConnekt Africa to organise this year’s summit and the Resident Representative, Mr. Maxwell Gomera said they’re working to enable young African individuals, families, and communities to prosper.

YouthConnekt Africa is a continental initiative with the mission to empower young people by enhancing their knowledge, experiences and skills while investing in their ideas, innovations and initiatives to harness Africa’s demographic dividend.

It aims at contributing to the achievement of Africa’s Sustainable Development Goals mandate, the African Union 2063 agenda, and the AU Youth Charter.

It was initiated in 2012 by the Government of Rwanda in partnership with the UNDP and is a multifaceted youth empowerment model focused on leveraging youth employability, entrepreneurship and civic engagement through innovation.

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