Pan African University in focus, as AU Summit opens

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea (PANA) - African Union's plan to establish the Pan African University (PAU), to meet the developmental needs of the continent and inject highly skilled manpower into the economic, political and socio-cultural sectors, will be in focus as African leaders begin their 17th Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Thursday, PANA reported from here.

The two-day Summit is being organised under the theme: “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”, which is aimed at providing better environment and skills for African youths to excel and contribute meaningfully to peace and security, socio-economic growth and sustainable development of the continent.

The theme did not come about by accident: The crisis in North African nations, triggered largely by youth unemployment, has served as an early warning to other African nations to act fast to create much-needed jobs for their largely youth population or face similar crisis.

The statistics buttress the point that the youth population must be gainfully engaged/employed to avert crisis. In Tunisia, where the whole revolution or 'Arab Spring' started, the country has a predominantly young population under 30 of 51%.

In Egypt, which took a cue from the uprising in Tunisia, the under-30 population constitutes 61% of the population.

The percentage is even higher in a country like Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, which has an under-30 population of 64.5%, and largely comparable in other African nations.

With this development in mind, it is a matter of time that the countries will explode if no effort is made not only to create jobs, but to ensure that the youth are provided with the necessary skills to be relevant in an increasingly competitive world.

Part of efforts to meet the capacity building needs of the present and future generations of African youth is the establishment of the PAU, an ambitious project conceived by the African Union Commission (AUC), and whose creation has been endorsed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the AU.

When established, the PAU shall comprise of five Institutes that correspond with the five thematic areas which are deemed relevant to Africa's growth and development: Space Sciences, Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change), Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation, Life and Earth Sciences (including health and agriculture) as well as Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The five Institutes will be located in Africa's five regions: North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa, and each Institute will have under it a network of Centres located across the continent and working on the same thematic areas listed above.

African Ministers of Education, who met in Nairobi, Kenya, 13 May 2011, under the aegis of the Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union (COMEDAF), have already prepared the details of the take-off of the PAU.

The challenge now is for the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments, which will be presented with the details at the Summit in Equatorial Guinea, to speed up the process of making the establishment of the PAU a reality, thus ensuring the development of continent-wide and world-class graduate and post-graduate programmes in science, technology, innovation, humanities and social sciences as well as governance.
-0- PANA SEG 30June2011

30 Junho 2011 07:55:38

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