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Africa Youth Month 2019


Young people are at the very heart of Africa’s development agenda. With over 75% of Africa’s 1.2 billion inhabitants under the age of 35, and 453 million Africans aged 15-35, it goes without saying that the development outcomes of Africa’s young people have a significant and lasting effect on the continent’s trajectory. The challenges Africa faces in education, employment, health, and governance are most acutely felt by Africa’s youth.

The African Union Commission, along with the rest of the world, recognizes this centrality of youth to achieving the aspirations of Agenda 2063. Aspiration 6 in particular envisions a continent with people-driven development, relying on its youth. Together with the African Youth Charter and the roadmap on harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth, Agenda 2063 and its youth-centric action plans serve as continental frameworks which reflect the prioritization of youth development by the African Union Commission and AU Member States.

The Commission’s strategy on youth engagement aims strengthen its relationship with youth, and equip them with the spaces needed to amplify their voices to audiences of influence. African youth are diverse in realities and skill set. They have the ability to provide the resolutions to challenges plaguing the continent, through their unwavering resilience, vibrancy and penchant for innovation. Young people, by virtue of their energy, vibe and adaptability, gravitate to the forefront of creating new, fresh solutions to old problems, and African governments must leverage this natural affinity through building their capacity and providing spaces for them to thrive.

In 2019, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission launched the 1 Million by 2021 Initiative, which will create direct opportunities for one million young Africans in the areas of education, employment, entrepreneurship and engagement (4Es). At the very core of the initiative are the principles of pan-Africanism, strategic partnerships and Africa-centric innovation and solutions, co-created and driven by Africa’s youth, towards creating sustainable structures.