ECOWAS Leaders Charged To Involve Youth In Decision Making

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Ms. Mercedes Rowe Asamani
Ms. Mercedes Rowe Asamani

The All-Africa Students Union (AASU) has urged leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to include the region’s youth in decision-making processes.

The student body said that partnering with the youth is critical for the African continent to reach the development status it seeks, hence the appeal.

“There are no better partners for the growth, development, and peace of the Continent than the African Youth”.

This was contained in a speech delivered by the Political and Social Affairs Officer of All-Africa Students Union (AASU) Ms. Mercedes Rowe Asamani, at AU reflection forum held in capital of Ghana, Accra, on March 15, 2022.

Ms. Asamani described how many sub-regional leaders continue to develop initiatives aimed at creating the “Africa we want.” However, she believes that such attempts have achieved little or no benefits, a problem she believes can be better addressed if youth are also given a seat at the decision-making tables.

“There are no better partners for the growth, development, and peace of the Continent than the African Youth” she noted.

“For Africa to overcome the shackles of the past and to take its rightful place in the world, the youth must not be far from decision-making tables”.

The African youth, according to the Political and Social Affairs Officer of the All-Africa Students Union (AASU), are ready and committed to channeling their efforts towards ensuring that they are active agents of change for the continent’s peace, security, and development.

In a pledge to the African leaders on behalf of the African youth, Ms. Asamani said “We use this opportunity to further pledge to use our intellect and ingenuity to serve as a catalyst for the development of inclusive socio-economic systems that promote equitable resource distribution and development, job creation, and access to opportunities, as well as people-centered and accountable governments, in order to ensure a lasting peace that births development on the Continent”.

AASU also used the occasion to commend the ECOWAS leaders for their efforts in maintaining peace and security in the sub-region.

It specifically extols the exemplary leadership role being played by the President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for rallying his peers in addressing emerging threats arising from military interference in the sub-region.

“The youth of Africa commend the efforts of President Macky Sall of Senegal, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and your peers in addressing the emerging threats arising from military interference in the sub-region” Ms. Asamani explained.

“Your joint efforts to maintain peace and inclusion, which are drivers for development on the Continent have not been any different in Ghana. Under your sterling leadership, Ghana has always remained committed to promoting youth participation, gender equality, demarginalization, investment in the youth, and the promotion of democratic values”.

Below is the full speech

SPEECH DELIVERED BY MS. MERCEDES ROWE ASAMANI, POLITICAL AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS OFFICER OF THE ALL-AFRICA STUDENTS UNION (AASU) AT THE AU REFLECTION FORUM

His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo, President of Ghana and the Chairman of the ECOWAS, His Excellency Bankole Adeoye, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Excellencies, Representatives of AU Member States, Heads of Delegations, Representatives of International Organisations, Distinguished Guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen:

We have gathered here today to reflect on our common future as Africa, especially in the light of the recent unconstitutional changes to democratically elected governments. No one feels the brunt of these unfortunate incidents in the sub-region than women, children, and young people. School closures due to COVID have already left a gaping hole in our literacy advancement. Further disruptions to school systems and social infrastructure will put at risk the future of the next generation.

It is why as young people and students from all over the Continent under the banner of the All-Africa Students Union, which represents over 170 million students, we are happy to be here at this forum to convey the voices of young people regarding the recent developments in the sub-region which threatens to erode all the gains we have made in building a peaceful and secure Africa.

Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen, there can be no peace and security without development and inclusion, just as there can be no development without peace. This critical nexus of peace, unity, and development played an important role in the formation of the OAU, now the AU, and it is for these reasons we must continue to address the root causes of conflicts and insecurity in the region to completely silence the guns while raising the flags of hope, of economic growth, of development, of inclusion, of peace, of demarginalization and of greater investment in the youth.

The youth of Africa commend the efforts of President Macky Sall of Senegal, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and your peers in addressing the emerging threats arising from military interference in the sub-region. Your joint efforts to maintain peace and inclusion, which are drivers for development on the Continent have not been any different in Ghana. Under your sterling leadership, Ghana has always remained committed to promoting youth participation, gender equality, demarginalization, investment in the youth, and the promotion of democratic values.

Despite the initiatives and efforts of the African Union in maintaining peace and stability on the Continent, there have been numerous challenges that have been impediments to achieving these lofty targets. This is not one of the many occasions to chastise the African Union or to apportion blames but one to rally together as a people bound by the spirit of Pan-Africanism to remind ourselves of how far we have come, where we are headed and how the emergence of unconstitutional changes of government remains the greatest obstacle in our way to achieving the “Africa We Want” and it is for this reason have we all gathered to reflects on these mishappenings and to proffer solutions.

There are no better partners for the growth, development, and peace of the Continent than the African Youth. For Africa to overcome the shackles of the past and to take its rightful place in the world, the youth must not be far from decision-making tables. On this august occasion, we as African youth recommit to channeling our productive energies to ensuring we are active agents of change for the peace, security, and prosperity of the Africa Continent. We use this opportunity to further pledge to use our intellect and ingenuity to serve as a catalyst for the development of inclusive socio-economic systems that promote equitable resource distribution and development, job creation, and access to opportunities, as well as people-centered and accountable governments, in order to ensure a lasting peace that births development on the Continent.

Your Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen we are confident this forum will share ideas that will usher in a new era of African greatness.

We wish you all fruitful deliberations.

Thank You.

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