UN chief hails African Union youth initiative

Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has commended the African Union (AU) for launching an initiative aimed at reaching millions of African youth with opportunities in key areas of employment, entrepreneurship, education and engagement.

The chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, launched the “1 million by 2021 Initiative” in April last year, targeting direct investments in millions of African youth on employment, entrepreneurship, education and engagement (4Es) through leveraging partnerships and private-sector opportunities.

The UN chief was speaking on Sunday at the 33rd AU summit in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, where he underlined the need to ensure that Africa’s youth are equipped to take full advantage of the benefits that the digital revolution offers.

Emphasizing the need to engage and empower Africa’s youth, Guterres expressed UN support for Africa’s efforts to give a better future to the youth.

“They too have a vital contribution to make as agents of change and must not be marginalized or excluded,” he said, adding that the UN is committed to listening to youth and all actors to determine how to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the future that is aspired.

“I am inspired by young people across Africa who have become advocates for peace through dialogue and addressing the root causes of conflict,” Guterres said. “Let us work to provide not only social space to young people, but opportunities for work and incomes.”

“To that end I commend the ‘1 million by 2021’ initiative that the African Union Commission launched last year, to reach millions of African youth with opportunities in the key areas of employment, entrepreneurship, education and engagement,” he said.

Young people make up the bulk of Africa’s total population, with an estimated 75 percent of the continent’s population below the age of 35. Enditem

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