The AU & African Youth

“Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation. “

Nelson Mandela

Aya Chebbi of Tunisia is the first-ever youth envoy of the African Union. Her appointment in November 2018 is supposed to boost the AU’s efforts to include the talents and skills of the continent’s bulging youth population in achieving its Agenda 2063, a framework for Africa’s socioeconomic transformation. Ms. Chebbi is expected to promote, among other issues, youth leadership and participation in governance, gender equality, safe migration, employment and climate change action.

‘A united Africa is impossible without the participation of Africa’s youth.’
Dr Femi Akintola

By 2030, young Africans are expected to make up 42 percent of the world’s youth and account for 75 percent of the those under age 35 in Africa. With such a large population of young people, supportive policies and programs on inclusive youth development are critical now more than ever.
Recognizing this need, the African Union Commission (AUC) has worked to build an evidence base of youth-specific data across a wide range of sectors to assist policymakers to make targeted investments and design effective interventions for young Africans.

Understanding What the AU Is Doing for Africa’s Youth

Youth Division

The Youth Division is the division responsible for Africa’s Youth Agenda at the African Union Commission. The Division is in charge of addressing issues concerning:
• Youth policy development: the African Youth Charter;
• Legal frameworks for Youth development;
• Programmatic framework: African Youth Decade Plan of Action (2009–2018);
• Youth capacity building and enhancing employability skills through the African Union Youth Volunteers Corps (AU-YVC);
• Partnership building and resource mobilization;
• Promoting Youth participation through activities such as organizing Youth Forums and Celebrating the African Youth Day;

1. The African Youth Charter
In July 2006, the Summit of the African Union in Banjul, the Gambia, adopted the African Youth Charter (AYC). The Charter is a political and legal document which serves as the strategic framework that gives direction to youth empowerment and development at the continental, regional and national levels. The AYC aims to strengthen, reinforce and consolidate efforts to empower young people through meaningful participation and equal partnership in driving Africa’s development agenda. The document refers to the rights, freedoms and duties of Young people in Africa

2. The Youth Decade Plan Of Action
The African Youth Decade Plan of Action (DPoA) 2009-2018 is a framework for multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional engagement of all stakeholders towards the achievement of the goals and objectives of the African Youth Charter. The DPoA also facilitates more coordinated and concerted actions towards accelerating youth empowerment and development. The plan of action provides a context that explains the background and reasons behind the declaration of a Decade for Youth by the African Union Assembly in January 2009. This Plan intends to support the development of national and regional plans of action, while simultaneously providing a framework to allow coordinated activities at the continental level.

The DPoA is intended for use by a broad spectrum of stakeholders including African Union Member States, development partners, the AU Commission and other AU organs. Having reached the middle of the decade, the Youth Division embarked on a mid-term review (MTR) so as to track the progress of implementation of the Plan of Action and recommend a set of priorities for the remaining five years of the DPoA in line with the post 2015 Agenda, Agenda 2063 and other instruments pertaining to Youth development .

3. Tvet Continental Strategy
The Heads of State and Government Summit of the African Union held in Malabo, in June, 2014, adopted the Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) Continental Strategy. It is based on the fundamental principle that there is a need for a paradigm shift in the perception of technical and vocational education and training. It is therefore important to set up or restructure a TVET system that;

4. Africa Youth Day
When the African Youth Charter was adopted through an Executive Council Decision of the Banjul Summit of 2006 (DOC.EX.CL./292 (IX), the 1st of November was proclaimed as “African Youth Day (AYD).” The celebration of African Youth Day aims to increase awareness of, commitment to and investment in youth; increase and strengthen youth participation and partnerships, as well as increase intercultural exchanges and understanding among young people. The AUC through consultation with partners determines a theme for the Day annually.

5. Specialised Technical Committee (Stc) On Youth, Culture And Sport
From 2014, the African Union Conferences of Ministers of Youth, Culture and Sport, previously organized by each sector separately, were phased out and replaced with the Specialized Technical Committees (STCs), as provided for by the African Union Constitutive Act, Article 16. The Specialized Technical Committee on Youth, Culture and Sport is one of the 14 STCs, and is defined as an Organ of the African Union in accordance with Article 5 (1) (g) of the AU Constitutive Act. The STC on Youth, Culture and Sports will meet once every two years.

6. African Youth Volunteer Corps (Au-Yvc)
The African Union Youth Volunteer Corp (AU-YVC) is a continental development program that recruits and works with young professionals to work as volunteers from across Africa and the Diaspora. It brings young people together to share skills, knowledge, and innovation to build a more integrated continent and strengthen Africa’s position in the globalized world. The AU-YVC concept is in line with the African Youth Charter, as well as the Decision of the AU Summit in January 2010.

High Level Event:
Demographic Dividend Roadmap for Africa: Moving From Commitment To Action 21 February 2021, 3:00pm – 6:00pm

Following the adoption of the African Union road map, in January 2017, on “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth”, African countries should have been preparing national road maps for the investments in youth required to realize the Demographic Dividend. In order to support the implementation of the national road maps, AU Watch, partnering with other CSO’s, is bringing together youths of Africa, African policy chiefs, development partners, the private sector and other stakeholders on the margins of the African Commission 65th Ordinary Session in Banjul, The Gambia, to spark discussion on the future of the African youth, among youth advocates and policymakers alike.

The meeting will examine inclusive youth development in Africa through the four pillars and enabling environment of the African Union Demographic Dividend (AUDD) Road map, which identifies key areas for increasing investments in youth, driving policy change, and setting member countries on a path towards a prosperous future.

Using indicators selected and analysed by the AU itself, the meeting will examine obstacles and opportunities facing African youth today, the meeting will call for innovative, multi-sectoral approaches that holistically address youth experiences—across the employment, education, health, and governance sectors.

To engage participants on the key policies, programmes, and investments required, including concrete actions to be undertaken by African governments, development partners, private sector and other stakeholders respectively to support implementation of the road maps.

The high-level event will take place on 21 February 2021 from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm in Banjul, The Gambia.
This High-Level Event will be chaired by the African Commission Chairperson. The Executive Director of AU Watch will moderate the discussions.
a. There will be brief presentations on the 4 key issues for national road maps namely: institutional coordination;
b. consultative frameworks for policy responses for demographic dividend;
c. conducive environment for credit, business, entrepreneurship, apprenticeships and employment and;
d. social investment package. The presentations will be followed by interactive discussions and summary of actions.

Participation in the High-Level event will be drawn from all over Africa, including policy chiefs from Africa, national, regional and international organisations, African youth, business leaders as well as African diaspora shall also be represented, leadership of the international private sector organisations as well as African private sector will be invited to participate.

• The meeting aims to make the case for evidence-based investments in young people and guide resource allocation across the continent.

• Consolidation of the concrete actions to be undertaken in response to the commitments by the African Governments, as well as follow-up steps.

• It is expected that the interaction will contribute to, among others, the efforts of countries to achieve reforms in youth education and skills development, decent employment, entrepreneurship and apprenticeships for young people, which are crucial for realizing the Demographic Dividend.

Are you a young person, a business person? Would you like to participate in this Event? Why not give us a call?