By Khalifa Hemed
Published June 20, 2017
Ministers in charge of Youth Affairs in the Great Lakes of Africa have agreed to advance youth employment in the region.
The ministerial session, meeting in the Zambian tourism haven of Livingstone on June 9, 2017 under the umbrella of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), was preceded by a two-day expert meeting which brought together youth representatives and national experts, policymakers, and representatives of the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, regional organizations, the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank. The Expert Meeting took stock of progress and challenges in advancing youth employment issues.
The national experts and representatives exchanged views on progress in advancing the youth employment agenda at the national and regional levels. They also discussed and validated the strategy and action plan developed in support of the implementation of the Heads of State recommendations emanating from the 2014 Special Summit on youth unemployment.
Said Djinnit, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Great Lakes region, noted the impact lack of access to socio-economic and political opportunities has on durable peace and reconciliation, and underscored the importance of establishing inclusive policies to tap into the unique demographic dividend that youth represents for the region.
Zachary Muburi Muita, the ICGLR Executive Secretary, noted that the growing menace of unemployed youth in the region is being manifested in disturbances to law and order in urban settings, proliferation of negative forces that prey on disillusioned youth.
The Ministers then reviewed the report of the experts on the outcome of their meeting, agreed on the need for a coordinated and participatory approach, and endorsed the 2017-2022 regional strategy for the implementation of the 2014 Special Summit of ICGLR Heads of State on youth unemployment. The strategy focuses on eight key areas including, infrastructure development; investment promotion; education and training; youth entrepreneurs access to funding; mobilization of additional resources for youth issues; youth representation in decision-making organs; monitoring, evaluation and coordination of policies and interventions; and good governance and transparency. They further recommended that the regional strategy be submitted for adoption at the next ICGLR Summit of Heads of State and Government in December 2017.