The third session of the Forum on Youth 2014 focused on the theme of creating an enabling environment for youth to thrive in post-2015 Africa. Moderating the panel, Ms. Ibrahim emphasized that the Youth Bulge in Africa makes a continent of talents, but these valuable human resources are often not translated into the desirable outcomes due to the lack of opportunities.
Mr. Bah stated that a more strenuous effort is required to give African youths the education they want. While African governments are firm in the conviction that education is important, such conviction is not matched by their budgetary commitment. The “business as usual” attitude is not good enough for post-2015 education, as Africa is the only continent where the secondary school completion rate has not increased in the past decade.
Ms. Agyemang commented that social inclusion of women is crucial for unleashing Africa’s potential. The paternalistic worldview of some communities curtails women from exercising their land rights, and thereby limiting Africa’s opportunities. She said that through further education, human rights and good governance can be infused into the communities as core values.
Mr. Hachonda spoke on the advancements needed in the area of reproductive health through comprehensive sexuality education. He believed the lack of such education is culpable for denying girls full reproductive rights.
Ms. Allam stated that African youth are enthusiastic advocates for climate change, and juxtaposed their enthusiasm with the lack of cooperation among African governments. She called for international cooperation in the transfer of know-how to combat climate change, for assistance should not only come in monetary form.
One recurring contribution from the floor was that African youths are ready to see to it the changes they want, and are not be content with being in the periphery of the decision-making process.
Meeting Title: Advancing progress in Africa beyond 2015: a youth perspective
Speakers: Ms. Hadeel Ibrahim, Founding Executive Director, Mo Ibrahim Foundation (Moderator); Mr. Chernor Bah, Chairperson, Youth Advocacy Group for the Global Education First Initiative; Ms. Danielle Agyemang, Program Coordinator and Liaison to the World Youth Movement for Democracy–NED; Mr. Holo Hachonda, Member, High-Level Task Force for the ICPD, and Program Director, BroadReach Healthcare; Ms. Mariam Mohamed Abdullah Abdelhafiz Allam, National Coordinator of the Arab Youth Climate Movement.
Location: United Nations Headquarters, Trusteeship Council Chamber
Date: 2 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Harrison Chung
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark