Young Africans have called for more freedom and opportunities to propel the socio-economic growth of the continent as thousands of them took part in the2021 Youth Connekt Africa summit held in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
The annual convening event connects youth from across the continent and beyond with policy influencers, political and industry leaders among others on accelerating youth empowerment efforts in Africa.
This is the first time the summit is being held outside of Rwanda, where it first started as the brain child of President Paul Kagame.
Youth Connekt Africa summit which has now grown bigger and has been adopted by the African Union is now considered the largest pan-African youth oriented program that seeks relevant solutions for youth socio-economic development.
Participants at the three day event engaged in various sessions that focused on Africa beyond aid and post Covid-19 pandemic recovery strategy.
More freedom and involvement
They however want more freedom and opportunities as they demand for active participation in political and policy decision making processes across the continent and getting them involved in finding solutions to the continent’s problem.
The 2021 Youth Connekt Summit closed with a resounding call to ensure that policies are more inclusive and representative of Africa’s largest population – young people – for transformative change. Read more: https://t.co/otwAPsSx0F#YouthConnektAfrica2021#YOUthCanDoIt pic.twitter.com/4GkrwFdKyb
— UNDP Ghana (@UNDPGhana) October 23, 2021
One female participant told DW that “Honestly speaking young people are empowered, they just need the space to operate. They just need that opportunity to put up the little and even the more that they have. They just need that space to operate.”
Another male participant was also quoted as saying that Africa’s growth led by young people “boils down to mindset change and the willingness of African leaders to have the young ones grow and stop giving contracts to people who are over age and they are not making way for the young ones to take their positions and even grow in it.”
Ghana’s vice President, Mahammadu Bawumia told the delegates that Africa’s youth still struggle to secure jobs, something that requires serious attention.
“The youth account for sixty percent of all of Africa’s unemployed. For those that manage to find work, they do not do so in a place that pays a good wage or develops their skills or provides a measure of job security.
No one needs to tell us that mass unemployment in Africa especially among her youth is a ticking time bomb,” Bawumia said.
but most importantly the youth taking the lead to embrace this opportunity to attain self-reliance. As representatives of our governments the dialogue on youth empowerment and engagement will not stop here, we agreed to institutionalise this dialogue at country
— YouthConnekt Africa Hub (@YouthConnektAf) October 22, 2021
There have been several conversations around empowering young people to lead the innovation agenda of the continent at this summit.
Business professionals, governments and investors at this event have agreed that more needs to be done to create opportunities for young Africans to exert their talents and energies in ventures that put them to work and grow the economy.