The first YouthConnekt Africa Summit is bringing together some 2,800 youth from all over the continent to shape their future.
The 3-day summit, which opened on Wednesday under the theme ‘Realizing Africa’s Youth Potential,’ is the result of the YouthConnekt Africa initiative launched in 2012 by the government of Rwanda and the UNDP.
“This is the time to bridge the gap between African youth and the limitless opportunities the continent offers. Let us all deliver the Africa we want by investing in our young people,” said the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana.
“The YouthConnekt Africa Program aims to create of 10 million jobs by putting young people at the centre of inclusive and sustainable development,” he added.
The Summit is focusing on establishing policies, programmes and partnerships to guide the continent to its goals of creating at least 54 million jobs that will absorb the growing labour force.
“Creating jobs for the youth and enhancing their potential should be made a priority by African leaders and policy makers. It is essential that we urgently tackle youth unemployment in order to fully realize their potential,” remarked the UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Diye.
He estimated that Africa currently has about 200 million youth aged between 15 and 24 years who will need a better future.
Among the participants are government officials and special guests including President Paul Kagame, Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD as well as successful entrepreneurs, artists and youth opinion leaders from across the continent.