The African Union (AU) has called for meaningful participation of young people in delivering peace dividends through the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The call was made by Chido Mpemba, the AU youth envoy, during a youth-themed consultation meeting held Tuesday as part of the 12th High-level Dialogue on Human Rights, Democracy and Governance in Africa, which is being held in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, from Oct. 3 to 6.
The consultation explored the role of African youth in advancing actions aligned to the nexus between economic development, democracy, governance and peace and security, the AU said in a statement.
Mpemba said the AfCFTA is a landmark achievement for Africa and can make an immense contribution to socioeconomic development as well as foster unity, solidarity, and collaboration among African countries and among Africans.
“Peace dividends are essential for achieving the goals of Agenda 2063 and the African Youth Charter. Without peace, there is no development, without the inclusion of young people, there is no future for Africa, therefore we must have young people at the forefront of the decisions we make,” Mpemba was quoted as saying in the statement.
The AU youth envoy said while peace dividends are the benefits that arise from the reduction and prevention of conflicts on the continent, providing opportunities for the youth through unlocking the potential in the AfCFTA can also improve security, stability, governance, human rights, social cohesion and development outcomes.
“Young people are engaging in trade and economic activities, fostering regional integration, cross-border cooperation and mutual understanding. Youth are contributing to the prevention and resolution of conflicts and building of resilience and inclusive societies,” she said.
According to the AU, with a more than 400 million young population, Africa presents a demographic bulge, which is its greatest human capital, making it critical to prioritize and guarantee that adequate investments are made to enable young people to realize their potential and become the driving force for governance, peace and sustainable development, thereby transforming the demographic potential into practical gains.