The Minister for Youth and Sports, Mr Mustapha Usif has described youth in Africa as her greatest asset.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the Youthconnekt African 2021 in Accra, the Minister said, “Africa is reported to have the fastest-growing youth population in the world. This simply means, our greatest resource isn’t the gold, diamond, cocoa, timber or oil, but our energetic and determined youth.”
The changes in demography, technology, economy, politics and other related factors had therefore necessitated the organisation of summits such as the youthconnekt to unite, connect and prepare the African Youth to become prosperous citizens to help transform the continent.
The youth, he indicated were key agents of development and called on all Government agencies and policymakers to assign them strategic roles in the developmental planning activities.
“Young people are at the centre of today’s most important strategic possibilities and problems, from developing the global economy to combatting violent extremism to establishing sustainable democracies,” he added.
He urged participants to ensure they reap the full benefits of the summit by engaging, networking and building bonds with their counterparts from other countries in order to ensure sustainable growth and development.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who was the Guest Speaker at the summit underscored the need to involve young people in the decision-making process.
“Africa cannot talk about shaping the future without talking about the welfare and wellbeing of young people. It is important that all of us take these ideas forward to harness the value of a youthful population, holding human rights, gender equality, development of human capital, and dignity at the center of all our investments. Only by providing opportunities that open the future to all young people do we create a brighter future,” he added.
The Minister for Youth and Culture for Rwanda, Rosemary Mbanbazi, who delivered a speech on behalf of the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, urged the youth to think outside the box and come up solutions to Africa’s challenges, especially those confronting the youth.
She emphasized the need for Africa to strive without aid by preparing the mindset of the youth and providing the enabling environment for them to prosper.
Several key speakers such as the CAF President, Patrice Motsepe, Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, the Secretary-General of AfCFTA, Wamkele Mane, among others all had their turns to address the youth of Africa.
This year’s summit is the first after the pandemic and also the first to be held outside Rwanda.
Over 3000 youth were physically present at the AICC with 1000s across the globe joining online.
Ministers of Youth and Sports will on Thursday hold a steering meeting to brainstorm and tackle the challenges facing the African youth collectively.
The summit is expected to end on Friday.