Youth Connekt 2018 starts with call for youth to drive Africa’s future

The youth from Africa and beyond have called for space and trust to be able to innovate and freely try out new things for the continent to be able to realise the future deserving for its people.

They said this Monday as they gathered in Kigali for the African Youth Connekt Summit that is taking place for the next three days bringing together 2,500 from across Africa and beyond.

The meeting is bringing together policy makers, those from multilateral organisations, social entrepreneurs, investors, young innovators, and professionals in different fields, making it the Africa’s largest youth gathering.

Ahunna Eziakonwa, the Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa noted that African youth have the ability to deliver the continent to the desired transformation if they are nurtured and given the opportunities.

“Though Africa is shaped like a question mark it is also an answer. We must give young Africans the space and the trust to take the lead and this is how we will build the future we want for this continent w.  Through Africa’s young people ingenuity, African is on the move.” Ahunna said.

The gathering is a Rwandan homegrown solution launched in 2012 but has since been adopted by other countries on the continent. 

So far, eight countries have adopted Youth Connekt including Liberia, Republic of Congo, DR C,ongo SierraLeone, Uganda, Gambia, Zambia and CapeVerde.

While officiating at the opening of the meeting, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente challenged the youth to own the journey of African transformation and also observed that the youngsters need a conducive environment and opportunities to reach their personal and professional dreams.

 “The Africa We Want by 2063 is an Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of all her people, including its women and youth, and caring for children. To achieve it, Africa requires holistic transformation.” Ngirente said.

He noted that since about 70 per cent of Africa’s population is under the age of 30, and with Africa’s population projected to double by 2050, Africa is the youngest continent on the globe.

“Therefore, any plan for improving the future of Africa, must factor in the role of young people.” Premier said.

This year’s summit is being held under the theme; “Connekting Youth for Continental Transformation”.

The overall mission of the summit is to leverage technology to connect youth to their role models and opportunities for civic engagement, social and economic.

The Prime Minister said that the summit would also be an ideal platform to advise African leaders on how to better support young Africans so that they can achieve their full potential and contribute to the transformation of Africa.

 

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