UNDP facilitates participation of Nigerian youths in inaugural YouthConnekt Africa SummitJul 26, 2017
UNDP Nigeria sent a five-member delegation to the inaugural YouthConnekt Africa Summit. The Summit which was held in Kigali, Rwanda, was hosted by the country's President Paul Kagame and organized by the Government of Rwanda in collaboration with UNDP and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Held 19-21 July 2017, under the theme From Potential to Success, the event brought together thousands of delegates representing governments, CEOs from multinational companies, leaders of civil society organizations (CSOs), development partners, young entrepreneurs and youth opinion leaders, representatives from academic institutions, and artists. Jack Ma CEO of Alibaba Group, and UNCTAD special Advisor on young Entrepreneurs also attended the event.
Four years after the initiative was launched in by the Government of Rwanda and UNDP, recorded successes and growing interest from governments and partners on the continent led to the expansion of the participation base beyond Rwanda.
The Government of Rwanda, in partnership with UNCTAD and UNDP, hosted the Summit as an effort aimed at initiating the rollout a program designed to realize Africa’s demographic dividend by combining elements of skills development, entrepreneurship, access to jobs and finance, awareness raising on issues related to youth development, and promotion of youth citizenship and leadership to foster solidarity, engaging youth in delivering SDGs across the continent.
A number of activities were undertaken during the summit - these include among others, the following;
- Mentoring sessions with global shapers who pointed out the power of peer to peer mentorship, the need for youths to engage in dialogue to achieve attitudinal change and change of mindset; youths should be seen as peace ambassadors, as front runners in technology advancement and should learn to plan and persist in their pursuit for success.
- Tackling youth unemployment through creation of 50 million jobs by 2020 as a way to realising Africa’s full potential. YouthConnekt Africa Program aims to oversee the creation of 10 million jobs by 2020.
Other discussions focused on and highlighted the need for policies that would enable the continent benefit from the youth bulge in advancing development, enhanced involvement of African youths in politics and how to make best use of Africa's young talents in the diaspora in shaping the future and development of the continent.
A number of commitments were made by institutions represented with UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa Mar Dieye commiting to scaling up YouthConnekt initiative so that more countries could participate. Mar also hinted on the establishment of a YouthConnekt Africa Hub in Kigali and setting up of a YouthConnekt Innovation and Empowerment Fund.
President Kagame, in closing the Summit, urged African leaders to prioritize the needs of youths and young people in development, because "they represent the hope of our great continent."
The UNDP sponsored delegation from Nigeria included Farida Habu, Saudat Salami, Suleman Abdulmalik and Adetayo Bamiduro led by Udumma Nwokike.
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