By Albert Kure

Celebration of a World Youth Day will never be complete without reminding the youth and world at large about certain current and projected realities young people in Africa face. These realities include illiteracy, miseducation, unemployment and exclusion from governance, active participation in the society and contribution to the economy. It is both sad and worrying that the largest population segment accounting for over half the population of the continent has the least representation in the politics and economy of society.

Growing global populations and specific alarming statistics in the form of a projected 1 billion youth on the African continent by 2050 makes it imperative to note that young people are the best capital the continent possesses. Capacity building and eventual utilisation of such vibrant and available human capital is hence key in attaining Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU).

‘Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want’ is Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming the continent into the global powerhouse of the future. It is the strategic framework designed by Africans, for Africa that aims to deliver the goals for inclusive and sustainable development and is a manifestation of the pan-African drive guaranteeing Pan-African unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity of the African Renaissance.

The AU, responsible for promoting Africa’s growth and economic development by championing citizen inclusion and increased cooperation and integration of African states has for some time geared up efforts towards youth development in a bid to create opportunities for young people as well as increase their productivity and impact, both socially and economically.

The Youth Division of the AU is responsible for Africa's Youth Agenda at the African Union Commission (AUC). They specifically address issues concerning youth policy development with respect to the African Youth Charter, legal frameworks for youth development, the programmatic framework of the African Youth Decade Plan of Action (2009 – 2018), youth capacity building and enhancing employability skills through the African Union Youth Volunteers Corps (AU-YVC), partnership building, resource mobilisation as well as promoting youth participation through activities such as organising youth forums and celebrating the African and International Youth Day. 

As the past chairman of the AU and President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on recommendation from the 2018 World Youth Forum (WYF), facilitated the creation of the African Presidential Leadership Program (APLP) for the training of African youth by the National Training Academy (NTA) in Cairo.

From June to August 2019, 100 change making and high-achieving youth leaders from 29 African countries and various sectors converged on Cairo as Fellows of the first Batch of the APLP where they studied, trained, communed with nature and the past as well as exchanged culture towards the eventual development and dream of the Africa we want. The extensive curriculum included but was not limited to courses on Africa: the opportunities and challenges, Sustainable Economic Tourism, Cultural Heritage, African Union Strategy, Africa: Wasted Resources, Women Empowerment and Human Rights and Sustainable Development Goals. Crowning up the six-week long training was the preparation of a policy recommendation document by the Fellows on “Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD)” for the AU after which an APLP graduation ceremony was held during the Egyptian National Youth Conference with the President in attendance. As a re-dedication effort of Africa towards the attainment of the Pan-African Vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena”, the APLP is the concrete manifestation of the Agenda 2063 aspirations leveraging Africa’s greatest asset, the youth.

The Africa of my dreams is thus a continent whose very existence seeks to defy the constant looming threats and ever-present struggles, and whose youth are equipped and involved in finding new ways to solve problems sustainably, learn from mistakes, conquer fears, outgrow weaknesses, magnify potentials, diminish flaws and embody tolerance due to cultural and religious enlightenment that sets ethno-centricism to flight.