Africa must review approach to Affairs of the Youth

African Legislators want member-states to review their approach to youth-related policies and adopt a more aggressive promotion and popularization of the existing instruments that are meant to uplift and develop the youth.

At a joint workshop for the PAP Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability; the Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs as well as the Committee on Education, Culture and Human Resources; discussions centered on how African youth were have been excluded in various mainstream activities because of a host of problems facing the continent.

Muneinazvo KUJEKE a Research Officer at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said there was a general lack of political will in uplifting the youth, citing a big number of African countries that have still not yet ratified the African Youth Charter.

ISS says the main challenges facing the youth on the continent are employment, access to healthcare and governance issues. There is a significant mismatch of skills and what the labour market needs. On governance and peace building processes, there is no inclusion of the youth happening.

“Our reviews indicate that the youth have no information on Youth related Policies and what they mean at national level. There is also minimal, or none advocacy done on these policies,” said Ms. Kujeke.

Hon. Pemmy Castelina MAJODINA from South Africa spoke in favor of an integrated approach towards the youth affairs among member-states, clearly defined areas for collaboration with key stakeholders, as well as clear cut targets that we can evaluate over a certain period of time.

“We need to start properly packaging issues concerning the youth and to establish more efficient collaboration at African Union, PAP and national levels. We need young people in key strategic positions across all sectors of the economy and have said Hon. Majodina.

Other countries alluded to badly resourced youth ministries with tiny budgets and reliance on donors for the development of Africa’s youth.

“Considering that the youth constitute a larger percentage of populations in all African countries; this is a shame. In essence, we are leaving the development of our youth to outsiders. There has to be a paradigm shift,” said Hon. Sidia sama JATTA from The Gambia.

Members of Parliament have resolved to dedicate efforts to advocate for youth sensitive national budgets; implementation of existing youth policies and updating policies that are inadequate and outdated.

“I urge Members of Parliament present here to ensure these discussions cascade and filter through to our  respective national Parliaments for the required action,” said Hon. Marie Mediatrice IZABILIZA, deputy chairperson of the PAP Gender Committee.