To this end, we have the first 10-year implementation plan for Agenda 2063. It really is an exciting blueprint for us to follow… but who really knows about it. Have YOU read and engaged with it? Do YOU know who should be doing what, when and how… really and realistically? It is all there. We just need the government and businesses to step up and do their part. We need civil society to partner in pushing the agenda forward, and investing as well in youth, especially around leadership development.
Now let us look at the youth ourselves. Researchers have described the continent’s youth as active with huge potential needing to be unlocked to create opportunities and turn them into realities for youth empowerment and employment. So how do we unlock potential? Truly speaking, we ought not to look any further than the youth themselves. The millennials have ideas and it is time to invite us to the high table of decision-making. Co-opt us into committees and give us roles in programmes and project and then watch… how we can transform these spaces into hubs of great thinking and innovation, spurring unimaginable breakthroughs in innovation and entrepreneurship and we will together be on the highway. The fast track to address other matters such as health care, sanitation, peace, poverty and corruption.
Investing in youth should be exactly what it should be: “invest in youth”. The totality of young people should be a high consideration in the structure of any investment targeted at developing our potential, our dreams. Assist us to make our ideas work, for our visions take shape and direction; guide us to direct our strengths at productive tasks, and invest in our diverse talents from sports to art.
The scale of the competition and challenges of unemployment in terms of skill, knowledge and size draw in all forms of influence, attention, action and leadership from grassroots to the continental levels and it is hoped that the African Union 10-year development plan for achieving Agenda 2063 will be the catalytic endogenous blueprint to bring about the sort of transformation that has been envisaged for Africa which has eluded us before.
Given that political leadership across the continent and of course even beyond is one that is in transit and that political parties will continue to change in terms of government, we cannot entirely rely on governments to be the vanguard of such a progress. We must look to civil society to ensure the overall agenda is realised. The African Union must strategically ensure and promote the active involvement of NGO movements like the African YMCA and all other continental bodies who are aggressively championing the same youth empowerment cause.
And at the end of the day: let us look at and into ourselves. Let us invest in ourselves now. We are our own best investors.
By Cedric Dzelu