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Youth resolve to push for stable and war-free post-millennium Africa
But, as these goals come to an end in 2015, Africa’s youth have an unshakeable belief that their active participation and vision for the continent must shape Africa’s development future and not be left to those who do not know the real needs and dreams of its people.
“The youth have very high hopes for the Post-2015 Development Agenda,” says Namhla Mniki-Mangaliso, Director for African Monitor.
“They want Africa to own its development agenda, have all citizens determine its own terms for political, social, cultural and economic advancement and be proud of its African identity, culture and value systems.
“They recognise that the continent cannot continue in its current destructive course filled with violence, poverty, economic exclusion and war”.
Africa’s youth make up 60% of the population of Africa and through extensive consultation with youth throughout Africa using mobile technology, social media and various off-line platforms, African Monitor’s Voice Africa’s Future initiative collected vital information about the future these young people would like to see for the continent.
During the workshop, Voice Africa’s Future’s youth champions came up with a number of ‘Key Asks’ that will be packaged in such a way as to easily disseminate and promote their agenda.
Some of these ‘Key Asks’ are:
· For a continent that not only recognises the importance of including youth development in all aspects of the development agenda, but to use them as agents and catalysts for development;
· For African country delegations to the Post-2015 inter-governmental processes to include and use youth advocates in UN negotiations as critical representatives promoting youth development issues as well as transparency and accountability;
· For African countries to transform its economies significantly by investing in labour intensive sectors so that it’s a continent that is self-reliant and independent, and can provide job opportunities for all, especially for the youth;
· For a continent that creates mechanisms for its citizens, especially youth and women in rural areas, to own and attain productive assets;
· For all African countries to provide 100% access to early childhood development for children under five and high quality education for children and youth in primary and secondary schools and to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the education system, starting at primary level;
· For a continent that adopts governance systems ensuring that there is 0% corruption in public service, democratic rule is achieved through free and fair elections and there is a high level of citizen participation including youth - at least a 25% representation - in programme delivery and monitoring;
· For the Post-2015 Development Agenda to reflect a commitment to promote equal societies and end discrimination and marginalisation of minorities and vulnerable groups. This must be done by promoting equality of access to public services, the justice system, political, social and economic participation;
· For the continent to prevent and eliminate violence against women and other vulnerable groups including child marriage and the use of child soldiers, and to promote the free movement of youth within the continent;
· For the Post-2015 Development Agenda to end extreme poverty and hunger in one generation by providing 100% coverage in social service delivery, including water and sanitation, and by developing advanced response systems for countries that experience natural disasters such as drought, famine and flooding so that it can predict and react faster than it presently does;
· For the majority of Africa’s people to have access to clean water, decent sanitation and housing by 2030 and for slum dwellings to be eliminated as well as exorbitant user fees for these basic human rights to be drastically reduced; and
· For Africa to end the disastrous damage it has done to its natural resources through deforestation, mining and over-fishing, to name but a few, by implementing a system for mitigating the damage already done and by adopting green technologies. It must also introduce laws and policies to protect, finance and ensure sustainable management of the continent’s natural resources.
In order to ensure that these calls to action by Africa’s youth are heard, Voice Africa’s Future’s youth champions from East, West, Central and Southern Africa have vowed to continue to actively participate and advocate at high-level discussions on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
African Monitor will also assist them by facilitating round table and bilateral discussions with respective government representatives and other stakeholders that the youth champions identified during this crucial planning workshop.
“They have already done a lot of work in expressing the views of Africa’s youth but it’s now time to fast-track the process.
“It’s not long before the UN’s Millennium Development Goals come to an end and we need to ensure that the youth are given as much opportunity as possible to feed into and influence the global development agenda.
“They need all the help they can get,” says Mniki-Mangaliso. “We’re calling on governments, civil society, bodies such as the African Union, the United Nations and media to assist them in whatever way they can so that their excitement, hopes and wishes for the future of Africa can be realised”.
The Post-2015 Development Agenda refers to a process led by the United Nations that aims to help define the future global development framework that will succeed the UN Millennium Development Goals, a set of eight global development targets which come to an end in 2015.
For more information on Voice Africa’s Future, go to www.africayouth2015.org or www.africanmonitor.org.
Quo Vadis Communications