Do not forget the youth in African development plans

Addis Ababa, 27 March 2015 (Joint Press Release, ECA-AUC) - Africa’s population is young, statisticians tell us. The continent has the largest ratio of youth population in the world with over two-thirds of its people under the age of 25. This necessitates strategic and innovative planning and ideas from African states to ensure a positive development of its youth.

The so-called demographic dividend, the opposite of the trend in some Asian and European, countries, must be put to full advantage recommended delegates at the Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration and the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development currently taking place in Addis Ababa.

During the session on the AUC Agenda 2063, discussions touched on regional integration, internal sources of financing development, practical implementation of the Agenda and mitigation of risk factors. Member states highlighted the importance of resource planning for children and youth. Empowering youth is one of the key attributes of Agenda 2063 yet, delegates cautioned, the youth appeared not to feature much in the process of planning and implementing the Agenda.

Delegates noted, during discussions on the implementation of the AUC Agenda 2063 focusing on planning, mobilising and financing for development, that Africa has to set aside resources and make concrete plans for its youth.  Some delegates felt due respect has not been given to financing of projects targeting development of youth.

We are planning for those yet to be born as well, delegates were reminded. Representatives enquired on ways their countries could involve youth in the next 10-year implementation phase of Agenda 2063. Identification of skills needed for the implementation of Agenda 2063 is critical. Skills for a future Africa have to be imparted to the youth and this requires innovative strategies for financing of development projects such as education or employment creation. Capacity, not only the youth’s, is a major concern.

Representatives were unanimous that new ways of financing development have to be innovative. Africa wants to industrialise. It wants a high standard of living, a healthy and educated population, good governance and robust institutions. It was noted though that conflict poses a risk to these ambitious plans and particularly affects the development of youth. Wars severely affect many young people and women robbing them of an education, security and development.

Jointly issued by the ECA and the AUC