Egypt brought together youths of all nations at the World Youth Forum (WYF) held from November 2-6 2018, under the auspices of President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi. The WYF was established in 2017 to engage youths from around the globe in an enriching set-up, allowing them to exchange views and recommend initiatives to decision-makers and influential figures. WYF creates space for young people to engage with top policy makers, network with other promising youth from the region and the world that are determined to make the world a better place for everyone.
At this remarkable event, as Egypt awaits to chair the African Union (AU) in 2019, one of the highlights was a session on the AU’s Agenda 2063, “the Africa we want” which was discussed under the theme of development.
Perhaps, many older African citizens by now would have heard of the Agenda 2063. However, when it comes to young people the questions are, do many youths know what Agenda 2063 is? Are they aware of its existence and foremost its aspirations? Moreover, as key stakeholders, do young people know how they can engage in the implementation, monitoring and reviewing of Agenda 2063?
That being the case, what is Agenda 2063 and how is it related to young people?
The Heads of State and Governments of the AU adopted Agenda 2063 at their 24th Ordinary Assembly held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2015. Agenda 2063 <https://www.au.int/web/en/agenda2063> is billed as “a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years”. It is both a vision, and an action plan. It is a call for action to all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny—the African Renaissance”. As such, it effectively covers seven key aspirations, in which youth development is a critical part.
For a start, it is encouraging that since the transformation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) into AU in the 2000s, the youth development agenda has begun to receive attention at policy level. In 2015 the AU, through Agenda 2063 went a step further by including youth development into mainstream continental policy frameworks as aspiration number six states the need for ‘an Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential offered by African people, especially its women and youth”
Agenda 2063 aspiration number six establishes a framework that among other things guarantees that: (1). Youth, be actively involved in all decision making processes; (2). Africa be an inclusive continent with no-one left behind or excluded through discrimination or gender, politics, religion, ethnicity, locality, age or other factors; (3).African youth be socially, economically and politically empowered; (4). An Africa where youth talent and potential will be fully developed rewarded and protected for the benefit of society; (5). Young Africans will contribute significantly to innovation and entrepreneurship, and their creativity and energy will be the driving for political, social, cultural and economic transformation; and (6). Africa’s youth will be guaranteed full access to education, training, skills and technology, to health services, jobs and economic opportunities, recreational and cultural activities as well as to financial means to allow them to realise their full potential.
In summary, Agenda 2063 aims to create a better Africa by addressing challenges and opportunities critical to the future of the young generation. This vision stresses that today’s investments in youth will contribute to a peaceful and prosperous Africa.
As was recommended at the World Youth Forum, 2018, Africa must engage its young people for the continent to change.As such; young people should embrace the noble aspirations of Agenda 2063 to drive its actualisation and fulfilment. n