2,800 youth from all over Africa have gathered in Rwanda’s capital Kigali for the maiden YouthConnekt Africa Summit to shape the future of the continent’s youth.
The three-day summit opened on Wednesday under the theme: “Realizing Africa’s Youth Potential.”
The Summit came into being as a result of the YouthConnekt Africa initiative launched in 2012 by the government of Rwanda and the UNDP.
“This is the time to bridge the gap between African youth and the limitless opportunities the continent offers. Let us all deliver the Africa we want by investing in our young people,” Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said.
YouthConnekt Africa Program alone aims to oversee the creation of 10 million jobs and this will be achievable if we put our young people at the centre stage of inclusive and sustainable development.
“YouthConnekt Africa Program alone aims to oversee the creation of 10 million jobs and this will be achievable if we put our young people at the centre stage of inclusive and sustainable development,” he added.
The Summit is focusing on establishing a policy, programmes and partnerships to guide the continent to its goals of creating at least 54 million jobs that will absorb the growing labour force.
“Creating jobs for the youth and enhancing their potential should be made a priority by African leaders and policy makers. It is essential that we urgently tackle youth unemployment in order to fully realize their potential,” UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Diye said.
He estimated that Africa currently has about 200 million youths aged between 15 and 24 years who will need a better future.
Among the participants are government officials and special guests including Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD and most importantly successful entrepreneurs, artists and youth opinion leaders from across the continent.
The Summit organised jointly by the Government of Rwanda in collaboration with UNCTAD, UNDP and other YouthConnekt partners will end on Friday, July 21.