The Africa Alliance of YMCAs (AAYMCA), in partnership with the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) is conducting an All Africa Youth Convention themed: We have faith: the Africa We Want. The convention, which is taking place at AACC Desmond Tutu Conference Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, started on 22 November and is scheduled to end on 26 November 2015.
It is the belief of the AAYMCA that the Youth Convention will further popularise Agenda 2063 as well as enable young people to engage with and discover where they are as far as the process and its implementation are concerned.
In his opening remarks, AAYMCA General Secretary, Carlos Sanvee, pointed out that the convention will provide participants from across the continent a platform to be a voice for the youth in Africa on the Africa We Want. He further stressed the need for mindset change among young people, “For us to get to the Africa we want, we need to change our subject mentality, and realise that the Africa we want starts with me,” he said.
The youth of Africa present the most promising resource and in huge quantity are a big reservoir of energy. They can play an important role in social, economic, culture and ideological revolution in the continent and contribute significantly to economic growth and poverty alleviation. However, one asks: do youth in Africa know what they want? What does it look like?
“I want an Africa that is peaceful and full of opportunities for young people to be empowered, and find solutions to their own problems” said Karen Adama, an S2C Ambassador from Togo YMCA.
Cedric Dzelu, an S2C Ambassador from Ghana YMCA, said, “I want an Africa that is genuinely an equal player with equal influence and is not dictated to on matters of governance. I want an Africa that shall be prosperous and where its prosperity will reflect through the lives of all Africans.”
In her presentation on Agenda 2063 as a vehicle for youth to be in the driver’s seat of the African Renaissance, representative of the African Union Youth Department Maryann Brown said, “Agenda 2063 is a framework of the African Union to have an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena. It focuses on encouraging discussion among all stakeholders to suggest an approach that would enable the continent to effectively learn from the lessons of the past, while building on the current progress.”
In order to achieve the African Union’s vision of “An Integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”, significantly more action is still required; especially from the youth. Africa must do things differently and should effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available in the immediate and medium term, so as to ensure positive socio-economic transformation within the next 50 years.
Most importantly, youth need to know that they play a vital role in the realisation of Agenda 2063. They need to equip themselves with the skills and confidence to transform themselves and other young people so that they are not excluded and manipulated politically, economically and socially. Youth need to move from being subjects to a state of citizenship where they understand the root causes of problems, articulate viewpoints and are part of positive change at various levels of decision-making in their respective countries. Our time is now and together, let’s build the future we want for Africa by 2063.
By Daniel Phiri, S2C Ambassador, Zambia YMCA