In the YMCA, we talk about Agenda 2063 and the “Africa we want”. This year, the African Union has focused on “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth”. It is clear that the contributions of young people are being acknowledged and appreciated, and by celebrating African Youth Day, we too recognise the importance young people play in their societies, countries and continent.While at the same time we channel youth voices, energy and idealism to reinforce our efforts towards the achievement of sustainable development and the Africa we want.
This year, to celebrate African Youth Day, the African YMCA movement chose to highlight unemployment through the theme of #InvestInYouthNow. In Harare, Zimbabwe, we will celebrate the day through motivational speakers talking about entrepreneurship and leadership while the youth themselves will contribute through participative dialogue with entertainment.
I was not born African, but I realised a long time ago that I am a global citizen with a heart beating for Africa. This year I was given the opportunity to yet again come to this beautiful continent to work with inspiring youth through the Young Advocates for Change exchange programme. I have had the opportunity to reflect upon the Africa I want for my brothers and sisters by heart. What I want to see is Africa in progress, with sustainable peace and development, and I believe we as the young people of this continent should be the driving force of this achievement.
I appreciate every opportunity I get to come to this continent to work for youth and development. The people I meet in the countries I visit make me sure that change is possible for Africa, and these strong young people are the ones who are driving this change for their countries and their continent, and they will succeed.
Marte Steiro, Young Advocate for Change, based in Zimbabwe YMCA