Africa Day: AU youth ambassadors urge continent's youngsters to get more involved

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African Union Commission Moussa Faki.
African Union Commission Moussa Faki.
Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP
  • There are calls for youth to do more in advocating for accountability, peace, security, and health rights.
  • Youth ambassadors say peace is not just silencing guns, but also ensuring economic growth.
  • The AU Commission chair says today's youths are not spectators and their demands should be addressed.

African Union (AU) youth ambassadors have marked Africa Day by calling on young people to engage more in promoting accountability through strong institutions, peace, security and health rights for the continent.

Tunisian Khouloud Baghouri, the North African sub-region's African Youth Ambassador (AYAP), said on the occasion of Africa Day, young people should take time to remind each other about their resolve in working towards a better Africa.

"Today, as we celebrate, we remind ourselves as the youth of our responsibility, commitment and our dedication to unite and work together to overcome the challenges in Africa," she said.

She added that youth should "advocate for a stable Africa and promote accountability for the achievement of peace, security, health rights and to end malnutrition".

According to aid agency Save The Children International, about 28 million children in sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing stunted growth due to malnutrition.

Tanzania's Diana Paul Chando, AYAP's East African ambassador, urged young people to understand that peace went beyond ending armed conflict to addressing economic growth.

She said:

On this day, I call on African youth to firmly stand together for peace as I strongly believe that peace is more than just the absence of war. It is also the absence of poverty, unemployment, and inequality.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says Africa is the youngest region in the world in terms of age. Niger has the youngest population, with 50% of the population under the age of 15.

This young age rate translates to a high "working poverty rate", with nearly 70% or 64.4 million working youths in Africa living in extreme or moderate poverty as of 2016. 

READ | Africa has become a ‘collateral victim’ of Ukraine war, AU chair says in Africa Day address

Cameroonian Christian Achaleke, who represents AYAP in Central Africa, said young people should be at the centre of peace and security matters on the continent.

"Responding to peace and security issues in Africa today can't be done without young people. We have proven that we are ambassadors of peace and change not agents of violence," he said.

In 2018, the AU launched the Youth for Peace (Y4P) Africa Programme in Lagos, Nigeria. Its mandate is to effectively engage, involve and collaborate with young women and men, as well as organised youth groups in the promotion of peace and security on the continent. 

In his Africa Day speech, AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said the youth's needs should be taken seriously.

"Massive youth unemployment and the persistent precariousness of the women of the continent are other challenges that call for urgent responses because this category of the African population no longer accepts to be a passive spectator of its destiny," he said.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation

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