‘Youth inclusion should be institutionalized and fast-tracked.’ As part of its mandate, The African Union Office of the Youth Envoy and the African Leadership Institute with support of the African Union, Department of Political Affairs hosted a two-day virtual engagement to launch the 'Greater Inclusion of African Youth in Public Service and Governance Report.'
As expressed by the African Union Commissioner of Political Affairs, H. E Mme Minata Samate Cessouma, in her introductory remarks during the launch of the youth inclusion report, "My call to the African heads of state and government is to invest more in youth, that will determine the pathway for our continent development”, When you invest in youths, you invest in the economy and turn out strength of a nation. It is the youth that determines and shapes the future of a country, hence the need to empower them at an early stage for sustainable results at a later stage.
The Report is a useful resource for member states as it summarizes insights on achieving greater youth inclusion in governance across the continent, and it also provides eight practical recommendations, the AU commissioner, explained in conclusion.
In her address to the African Youth, The African Union Special Envoy on Youth, Ms Aya Chebbi said "In 2020, the average age of the African leadership is 64 years old and the average age of the population is about 20. These 44 years generational gap is the largest in the world, which challenges the very core precepts of governance, sustainable development and the potential for harnessing Africa's demographic dividend through Intergenerational Co-Leadership."
Highlighting the significance of youth engagement in governance at the launch, Dr.Jacqueline Chimhanzi, CEO, African Leadership Institute stated urgency to open up youth spaces at all levels.
"Africa urgently needs to open up governance spaces and allow young people to contribute meaningfully at national, regional and continental levels. To continue to leave out, young people undermines the very Africa that we all want and deserve."
To further bring Africa youth closer to the policymakers, the AU Office of the Youth Envoy and their partners invited the First Lady of the Republic of Namibia as the keynote speaker, in her statement she called on youth inclusion to be institutionalized and fast-tracked.
"The younger generation will always differ with the generation that precedes it. Resisting the inevitable friction and need for transition is not an option for as long as we are mortals. The only logical way to manage the generational transition is to intentionally groom suitable successors to ensure a smooth transition in a clearly defined, structured and transparent manner" she added "This is essentially the point of the Report and I agree with it. Youth inclusion will not be achieved without quota systems. The need for youth inclusion should no longer be a topic, and the topic should be how to institutionalize and fast-track inclusion while making sure that youth are not only seen at the table but that they are also heard"., The First Lady of the Republic of Namibia, Mrs Monica Geingos. In other to understand the generation of today, one must welcome the change that it brings with it, a change that can only be understood by empowering and bringing in the youths to the system.
Hon. Routouang Mohamed Ndonga Christian, Minister of Youth- Chad was also a special guest during the intergenerational dialogue and the launch.