Ethiopia: AU Summit lays ground for greater action on youth

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union Commission has laid the ground for greater efforts to deal with youth unemployment and plans to appoint a special envoy for youth affairs this year to champion progress in the field, through initiatives that would lead to more jobs and better lives.

“Our programmes of beneficiation and economic diversification, agricultural modernization and the development of agro-processing must of necessity target the creation of the jobs and economic opportunities for young entrepreneurs,” the AU Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Tuesday.

The AU Summit kicked off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday, to discuss pressing continental matters, including the readmission of Morocco into the AU and the election of new Commissioners.

“The future we are building today must leave Africa great and free for current generations,” Dlamini-Zuma, who is due to step down at the end of the Summit, said.

The AU Summit is taking place under the theme, "Harnessing the Demographic Dividend, Through Investment in African Youth," an issue which the AU Chairperson said, should consider ways of closing the gaps between training needs of the youth and their ability to get employment after school.

“To harness this resource, we must firstly provide all Africa’s boys, girls and young people with opportunities to be in school, complete secondary education and have access to vocational training and universities in order to expand their knowledge of science, mathematics and engineering.”

The AU considers new initiatives such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) Strategy for Jobs for Youth in Africa 2016-2025, to create 50 million jobs for the youth as a key element of success.

The continental bank is offering up to US$300 million to support initiatives that would support the youth to start new enterprises.

The new AU Chairman, Alpha Conde, said the youth agenda should be taken more seriously and called for the direct engagement of the youth at the next AU Summit.

The AU plans to ensure that at least 60 percent of the unemployed youth are employed in order to end the double-rate of unemployed adults.

“We must ensure that the African children, young men and women see the blue oceans economy as their natural heritage and for possible career paths,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
-0- PANA AO/MA 31Jan2017

31 january 2017 15:05:54

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