In the spirit of the African Youth Charter (AYC), Heads of African States assert their claim to be “CONVINCED that Africa’s greatest resource is its youthful population and that through their active and full participation, Africans can surmount the difficulties that lie ahead”.
Despite such assertion, the energies and innate potentials of the continent’s greatest resource, the youth population, has not been harnessed. At the 4th Ordinary Session of the African Union Conference of Ministers in charge of Youth (12-14 September 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), the Ministers observed that Africa is yet to reap the enormous potentialities of its natural wealth and human capital since the critical issues underlying the continent’s demographics, especially, those relating to the youth have not been addressed.
To deal with this challenge and consistent with AYGC 2014, 2015 and 2016 themes, the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments declared 2017 as Africa's Year for "Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth". This charge notwithstanding, the harsh reality facing Africa demands a very intensive and extensive mobilization of young people to construct a prosperous continent ‘BEYOND AID’.
Africa needs to localize and own the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for instance, and mobilize resources internally and externally towards their attainment and towards the construction of a continent beyond aid with a youth-centred approach. Given the continent’s current demographic structure with a high youthful population, there is a significant potential for economic transformation. Beyond the simple increase in the number and share of working-age population, the development and implementation of sound policies in education, health and the creation of an enabling macroeconomic environment that facilitates job creation and access to decent employment would ensure increase in the productive workforce and lead to higher growth and rising income per person.
As the global aid architecture shrinks, it has become obvious that governments in Africa and their citizens, especially, the youth must mobilize resources internally and from Diaspora for the transformation of their countries and the continent. This makes the mobilization of the energies and potential of young people in Africa and Diaspora for development a necessity than an option. Tapping into the 5-Cs of Diaspora Youth Capital (Financial, Intellectual, Political, Cultural and Social) is now more urgent than before.
African Youth and Governance Conference (AYGC) 2016 and 2017 Resolutions unequivocally identified corporate Africa as key players: bringing them on-board to align their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals and activities to national development strategies. This, as envisaged will help close the yawning gap dwindling international aid leaves in development funding in Africa.
Under the theme “MOBILIZING THE YOUTH TO BUILD A CONTINENT BEYOND AID” the search for advancing this agenda shall be pursued at the 10th AYGC, Accra 2018 with youth from over 35 African Countries and Diaspora.
The theme emphasizes the critical need to pull resources of young people to transform the continent and strive towards Africa’ aspirations ‘beyond aid’. Mobilizing the youth population presents a great opportunity to creating an effective platform for participation in the political economy, building resilience of young people, and addressing the root causes of many of the key challenges facing them. This provides an opportunity for Africa to reshape its destiny anchored on its greatest assets – the youth. As a new contribution to knowledge, in addition to our conference resolution at AYGC 2018, the youth delegates shall be equipped with relevant knowledge to develop TOOL-KITS on how to mobilize young people and engage with peers and development stakeholders including corporate citizens to take action or pursue local, national and continental causes.
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AFRICAN DIASPORA YOUTH HOME COMING SUMMIT
"Harnessing Africa's Next Generation of Leaders"
Youth Bridge Foundation,