High expectations as 10,000 African youth meet in Kigali

A delegate from DRC poses for the camera at the 2019 Youth Connekt summit. Courtesy

The Youth Connekt Summit will get underway on Wednesday, bringing together over 10,000 youths from across Africa and beyond and it will be held under the theme; ‘Boosting industrious young Africa’.

Thought the summit is taking place for the seventh time, this year’s will be the third time it is being held since it became a continental affair, under the banner of the African Union.

The opening ceremony of the summit will held at Kigali Arena and will feature speakers including renowned entrepreneurs, globally acclaimed athletes and youth mentors.

Among the speakers are Ashish Takkar, CEO of Mara Group, which is the first company to manufacture smartphones in the whole of Africa.

The factory which is located in Kigali’s Special Economic Zone, was opened on Monday by President Paul Kagame and will at full capacity be able to manufacture up to one million phones a year.

Other speakers include celebrated Ivorian Didier Drogba, a former striker at the English Premier League side Chelsea who is currently a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, also planned to speak is Yolanda Ngarambe, a professional athlete who set the Swedish national record.

Others include Issam Chleuh, Managing Director of SUGUBA, and Eric Kacou, co-founder and CEO, Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESP).

Key activities to be held for the next three days include the Connected Girls Hub organized by different partners including Imbuto Foundation, the UN and other stake holders which will also be in line with the celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child.

There are also scheduled Youth Connekt Africa Action Awards, Made in Africa Expo, exhibition booths and Job Connekt which links job seekers to opportunities among others, according to organisers.

For the first time since its inauguration in 2012, the three-day summit is expected to feature the Kigali Night Run, a slow jog by participants and other sports enthusiasts that will orbit the conference venue on Thursday, October 10, from 7 to10pm.

Alongside the convention are planned side events all in the package the organization offers to African youth including Face the Gorillas, during which young budding African entrepreneurs will pitch their business ideas to prospective funders.

What youths expect

Anastase Ndagijimana, Founder of We Got Your Back,an NGO fighting against gender-based violence.

Meeting and networking with people from the continent whom we share sector and aspirations is my first expectation. I also look forward to pitching my organisation to potential partners or sponsors to forge a way of collaboration.


Jeannette Umutoniwase, CEO and founder of Inzira Dreamz Network, a handcraft manufacturing social enterprise.

As a young entrepreneur, I want to learn new policies concerning youth. I also want to know how I can be a part of African economic development agenda and certainly this is the best platform for me.


Mark Abel Mugenwa, 23, CEO and founder of Making The Legend, a social enterprise that develops young talents in sports.

By its meaning, Youth Connekt Africa Summit brings together young people from the continent of Africa. I want to ‘take the lead’ as the summit slogan reads, of my career in social enterprise.

With the topic ‘Turning passion into profit’ on the schedule, for instance, I will acquire new connections and experience to bolster my enterprise.


Evelyne Niyomukesha, 26, Deputy legal representative of Enterprise Africa.

Because Youth Connekt Africa brings together different people from all corners of the globe, I want to gain experience, networking and opportunities. As someone heading an organisation, I expect to learn new ideas used by other companies so I can take them into mine.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com