Africa needs more mosquitos with impunity

Founder & Executive Director of Nile Youth Development Actions

The issue of the African youth is relevant to the African Union, the emancipation of the young people goes beyond annual thematic areas, overlaying or cross-cutting initiatives and the Africa We Want, embodied in the Agenda 2063.

The continental body and its partners for the last few weeks embarked on mobilizing youth participants from different parts of Africa to pave a platform for H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to launch the ambitious initiative of reaching one million youth by 2021 to consolidate their efforts on advancing education, employment, entrepreneurship, and engagement.

The youth delegates in separate and breakaway plenary sessions discussed the anticipated solutions for the 4Es (education, employment, entrepreneurship, and engagement) and these 4Es were further fragmented into twelve pathways where education elements composed of scholarships, alternative academic trends, and models for teachers’ development.

The employment is further divided into internships and apprenticeships, job centers and digital skills. The third element of entrepreneurship was splatted into growth capital and nurturing the start-up. Finally, the engagement element constituted leadership programs, exchange programs, forums, and youth engagement platforms.

The participating youth through the duration of the forum contributed enthusiastically in providing and crafting solutions to reach one million youth by 2021 and this positive joint effort can also be viewed from the lens of not reinventing the wheels because the answers are out there and just need a concrete implementation and scalability capacity.

However, the 4Es are not much reliable in some African countries who are struggling for a better peaceful country and it might not be as such priorities. For instance, if you ask young participants from Sudan or Algeria, they will answer that “we need better systems of governance that can deliver to citizen’s expectation” and the fellows from South Sudan will indicate an urgent need for implementable peace that allows an enabling environment for livelihood rebuilding.

And in my side, I will question the decision of the African Union Assembly if our guns are going silent by the year 2020 and many more other continental issues with pending implantation.

These scenarios are replicative in almost half of the African Union member states countries and it symptomizes by continuous riots and protests.

On the other new trends, it shows that African youth knows what to be done for the future of this continent and few of them are out there in the frontlines, making the change they want. For instance, the member of the parliament in Uganda Hon. Robert kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine is the mosquito, that Prof. Sarah Anyang refers to in her motivational quote that “…If you the African youth think that you are small to make a change, you did not yet spend the night with the little tiny mosquito…”.

The Sudanese and Algerian youth are also the mosquitos that found their impunity in freedom squares to change the insecticide regimes. Now, we can shift the trajectory that African youth are not a time bomb rather a peaceful force for Africa we all want.

However, African youth remains irrelevant to the African Union’s operations and if you ask AU Commissioner of the Human Resource Science and Technology (HRST) Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, she will confess that the 400 youth participants from different countries do not know the AU ANTHEM because no one has taught them. This also applied to the thousands of decisions and policy instruments stored somewhere in the good looking building of the African Union Headquarters without reaching the grassroots levels.

Despite the challenges the African Union Commission is confronting with the reforms issues, the Chairperson managed to appoint the first-ever AU Youth Envoy Ms. Aye Chabbi with a mission of focusing on inclusive participation for youth, advocacy, partnerships, and harmonization.

Her positive role with the advisory council is observed through continuous contribution in advancing the youth agenda and by leading the 2nd Pan African Youth Forum into its success.

Furthermore, I urge the team to do more youth outreach to understand the local contexts and priorities of each member state.

The African Union Commission chairperson already threw the ball of change to the youth themselves and the primary tasks remain on the fieldwork, and it is now a matter of choice to roll and reach one million or more youth by 2021, acting decisively on achieving the 4Es and other national priorities of each state.

With this backlog, I would recommend the African Union Commission to empower the AU liaison offices to coordinate this initiative of reaching one million youth by 2021 and this will happen with the full inclusion of young people themselves. The AUC should consider taking all the stored policies to the grassroots so that the AU ANTHEM can be sung by the pupils in the primary schools alongside the national anthem of member states and the issues of relevancy can be smoothly tackled.

The AU Commission should also change the usual subscribers of AU conferences and forums by investing in the youth who are impacting their nations at the grassroots level and re-direct the AU retirees to teach in African universities and volunteer for state’s building.

Talkinism remains the only experience young people are developing through time and this paradigm must be shifted to action-oriented so that the youth can be that mosquito, that takes the lead in implementing continental issues on youth. Therefore, we should all be keen on evaluating the timeframe of every initiative to make an informed decision on how success and failure. If member states shy-away to offer impunity to those active youth _ the only option will be, the existence in a united crowd for positive change and transformation.

The African youth are not just a statistical number but potential and emerging change-makers.

Let’s check things up!

 The Ethiopian Herald Friday 20 December 2019


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