Dakar, Senegal, 25 March, 2017 (ECA) – A two-day dialogue focussing on the benefits of investing in Africa's youth kicked off Saturday in Dakar, Senegal, as part of activities marking the second edition of African Development Week.
African youth voices were represented on the opening panel by Francine Furaha Muyumba, President of the Pan African Youth Union, who deplored the rate of youth unemployment in the continent.
“Youth unemployment in Africa is worrisome. Youth constitute 60% of unemployed Africans, according to the World Bank. Young African women are worse off in the labor market as it is easier for men to get jobs than women, even if they have equivalent skills and experience.”
Ms. Muyumba also highlighted the lack of access to credit, insufficient skills and lack of experience on how to find jobs or start a business as some of the major problems facing Africa's youth, but stated that youths were willing and ready to collaborate with development partners.
“The Youth Division of the African Union Commission and the pan-African Youth Union remain ready, open and committed to mutually beneficial engagements that will trigger the transformative change that we all need and deserve.”
The discussions are taking place within the framework of the 18th Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM-Africa) under the them, “UN System Support to Harnessing Demographic Dividend Through Investments in the Youth.”
For his part, Abdolaye Mar Dieye, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, commended the African Union for some of its youth-focused initiatives.
“The AU must be commended for having adopted the African Youth Charter in 2006, for having declared 2009-2018 the ‘African Youth Decade’, and for devoting the them of their summit this year on the critical issue of harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in youth.”
Mr. Dieye described youth unemployment in Africa as a “denial of human rights, bad economics, a jeopardy to Africa’s future and a threat to our present existence.”
The Assistant Secretary General also proposed 10 action points, which “could serve as a platform to guide a cohesive UN support to the AU roadmap.” The action points captured, among other things, the need to establish youth investment banks, and for governments to provide incentives to private sectors to encourage youth employment.
The 18th session of RCM-Africa will discuss the implementation of the renewed framework of United Nations-African Union Partnership on Africa’s Integration and Development Agenda (PAIDA). The session will also consider the work programme of the RCM-Africa for 2017 and 2018, ensuring that the new clusters are appropriately aligned to support the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Participants included senior officials of UN agencies, AU, the World Bank, IMF, AUC, AfDB, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, African Peer Review Mechanism Secretariat, RECs and other development partners.
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