From the 24th to 27th of April 2019, Elie and I participated in the Second Pan-African Youth Forum held at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This forum was organized in order to launch “1 million initiatives by 2021” in order to find sustainable solutions on issues of education, employment, entrepreneurship and engagement of young Africans. A little over 300 adolescents and youth, aged between 15 and 35 years old, took part in the forum.
“Africa contains the most youth in the world and they are full of potential”, stated Moussa Faki, president of the African Union Commission, during his opening speech. Presently, many young Africans think that they can find solutions to their problems only by reaching Europe…but the number of deaths in international waters keeps going up. By giving the opportunity to the youth to implement new initiatives for the development of the continent, it will be possible to improve living conditions in Africa and change the present situation.
4E : education, employment, entrepreneurship and engagement
During the forum, we worked to propose solutions to different problems raised in the areas of education, employment, entrepreneurship and youth engagement. According to the 300 youth present during the discussions, it is necessary to:
- Research opportunities throughout Africa in the 4E in order to benefit the youth in all countries;
- Ensure access to employment through scholarships in the area of education and the facilitation of training online with a diploma recognized throughout all of Africa;
- Ensure access to capital through a tontine system for financing entrepreneurial initiatives;
- Enforce legal instruments at the regional or continental level by redoubling efforts in youth engagement.
These solutions have been retained by the African Union Commission and by different partners such as UNICEF, UNFPA, the International Labor Organization, Trace TV, Facebook, Ecobank, World Bank and Coca Cola. They committed to supporting the youth to put in place “1 million initiatives by 2021” by offering training programs, internships and by committing to creating jobs for the youth, for example.
In order to allow an accelerated improvement of the living conditions of young Africans, the Advisory Council for youth which exists at the level of the African Union Commission committed to supporting our solutions. Composed of 10 youths, this council represents young Africans in front of heads of state and governments.
Youth participation is one of the keys for development
During this forum, I built relationships with young people from all over our continent. This forum was the opportunity to share what we are doing in the Democratic Republic of Congo to involve the youth – from their earliest childhood – in matters that concern them. I defended the idea that youth participation is one of the keys for development. I am convinced that the youth that were involved in the past, as Child Reporter or member of children’s committees for example, face the professional world without complex.
I would be remiss if I did not tell you that I was appointed “reporter” in my working group, which focused on employment. I had the privilege to present, on behalf of the group, at the top of the tribune of the African Union Commission, the results of our reflections. I left Addis Ababa proud of having accomplished the mission but also and above all motivated to work once more in my country for the improvement of living conditions of adolescents and the youth.
Kindly translated from French Matthew Khalkhali