It is with great pleasure that we release this inaugural joint statement to partners in view of celebrating the International Youth Day on this 12th August 2023.
This is to recognize that the youth of Africa is ready to embrace the emerging challenges and opportunities that the region has to offer. Yet, the youth need the conducive policy and legal environment necessary to grow and evolve into the best version of themselves.
In this regard, we are conscious that Parliaments and policymakers need to be on the forefront of reform initiatives to ensure that youth empowerment is mainstreamed at all levels, with appropriate investments made in education, apprenticeships and the creation of skills that can heighten youth performance and productivity in the long term.
It is only the youth who can deliver the promise of an Africa which is a powerhouse of ingenuity and skilled labor. In the 21st century, the youth need to be particularly mindful of the need for the world to effect a clean energy transition which will mitigate the worsening of global warming and climate change disasters which result from same.
In this vein, we associate ourselves fully with the UN theme to mark this day which is “Green skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World” which eloquently demonstrates the need for investment in youth upskilling through eco-friendliness, creation of green energy, bio-agriculture, climate change action or reduction of the carbon footprint as part of a package of coherent youth-centred initiatives that intertwine with the Sustainable Agenda 2030. The youth of today needs capacity building to understand that all developmental policies need to be coupled with incentives that aim to put the planet first.
Without the planet, we do not exist. And without the youth, we have no future. The youth’s active involvement in putting the planet first is thus imperative if we are to implement coveted regional Agendas such as the SADC Vision 2050 and Africa Agenda 2063.
Happy International Youth Day 2023!