African Union Declares Decade on Youth Development in Africa

February 24, 2009 at 10:42 am | Posted in Africa | Leave a comment
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The Assembly of Heads of State and government of the African Union has declared the years 2009-2019 as the decade of youth development in Africa. The decade was declared during the last Executive Council held in January 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia within the context of the outcomes and prospects related to the Year of African Youth 2008 and to facilitate the implementation of the African Youth Charter after its ratification.

The decade is an opportunity to advance the agenda of youth development in all member states across the African Union, to ensure effective and more ambitious investment in youth development programmes and increased support to the development and implementation of national youth policies and programmes. The African Union set the pace for the implementation of the decade through initiatives during the Year of African Youth in 2008, through its implementation of non-formal technical, vocational and educational training programmes in post conflict countries; strengthening of youth organisations through the revitalisation process of the Pan African Youth Union, and the development of a plan of action to promote youth development through the effective implementation of the African Youth Charter.

During the decade, the AU Commission and member states will collectively implement the AU’s 10 year plan of action on youth development in Africa, which will focus on priority areas for youth development in member states, as outlined in the African Youth Charter. Priority issues that need to be addressed for the empowerment of African youth include: education, employment, safe spaces for recreation and leisure, participation in policy-making processes at national, regional and continental levels, and health issues. These will be clearly addressed within the plan of action for the decade 2009-2019.

During the first year of the decade, the African Union Commission will focus work with countries in the strengthening of their national youth policies and the process of ratifying and operationalising the African Youth Charter. This will include activities to popularise the charter, provide advice and information on the legal and legislative processes and facilitation for national sensitisation workshops. The Commission will also, upon request, expand its support to the Pan African Youth Union, which has been endorsed by the Summit as the focal point to the AU on youth matters.

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