The African Union Commission (AUC) is set to roll out a new initiative focused on creating direct opportunities for the development of youth in Africa, to actively and meaningfully drive the full realization of Africa’s Agenda 2063.
“1 Million By 2021 Initiative” aims to concretely reach millions of African youth from across the continent with opportunities and interventions in the key areas of Employment, Entrepreneurship, Education and Engagement (4E’s), which will accelerate socioeconomic development on the continent.
The initiative builds upon the progress Africa is making in improving capacities through education and skills development; creating, as well as establishing conducive environments for, opportunities in employment and entrepreneurship opportunities young people; and ensuring they are meaningfully engaged in the development agenda of the continent.
Recognizing the burgeoning youth population on the African continent, and the necessity to implement new approaches to solving existing problems, the initiative seeks to embolden stakeholders to consider new perspectives, test new ideas and scale up promising practices across the continent. This will be done through leveraging partnerships among key continental players in the development space and the private sector, leading to the incorporation of a sustainable ecosystem built along collaborative and pan-African lines.
Twelve pathways have been identified as drivers for the 4Es that will facilitate the expansion of opportunities in youth development: models for teacher development, mobilizing and catalyzing capital growth for youth-led start-ups; nurture start-ups; skills transfer hubs; internships and apprenticeships; digital skills; job centers; digital skills; leadership programs and exchange programmes.
“This initiative will seek to foster new approaches towards addressing the multifaceted challenges confronting the youth on the continent. It is my expectation that it will embolden various stakeholders to develop creative ideas and help build an ecosystem of efficiencies across the continent in furtherance of youth development. To achieve success, it is imperative that we pool our efforts and resources together, and I call upon all stakeholders to join me in this commitment to our future”- African Union Commission Chairperson, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat.
The initiative will be launched on the 24th of April 2019 at the AU Headquarters in Ethiopia, during a four-day Pan African Forum organized under the theme ‘Africa Unite for Youth: Bridging the gap and reaching African Youth. The forum brings together over 400 young people from across the continent to co-create solutions on the 4Es. Development partners, the private sector, institutions of higher learning and the civil societies will also be in attendance to engage with the youth and pledge their support for the initiative.
Aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063 speaks to “An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children”. This recognizes the paramount importance of harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend through investing in its youth. The African Union defines youth as persons between the ages of 15 to 35.