This means that without the inclusion of young people in the development process, our plans to bring about change and transformation will be in vain.
This year, we marked the celebration of International Youth Day at a time when the world is working together day and night to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes promoting a process of socio-economic recovery to rebuild better, with AUDA-NEPAD playing a critical role in contributing to preparedness and response to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic.
Africa’s youth, who make up the bulk of Africa’s demographic make-up, have not been spared the adverse effects of the pandemic. This is evident in the significant increase in the youth unemployment rate observed in our Member States. Among the many sectors affected, the agricultural sector and its value chains which employ the majority of young Africans living in rural areas, have been devastated due to the strict measures taken by governments to contain the virus.
In line with the theme of this year’s International Youth Day “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health ”, AUDA-NEPAD strongly believes in the capacity and innovative qualities of our young people in transforming food systems in Africa. In addition, the young workforce within the food systems value chain can undoubtedly contribute to addressing food insecurity in Africa if transformative strategies are implemented in accordance with the Malabo Declaration. Even if we observe a rapid urbanization process, most of the jobs to be created will come from a diversified rural economy and a transformed food economy.
Our overall success will depend on our ability to collectively harness the opportunities offered within food systems, while simultaneously creating the links between the development of youth skills and the push towards broader industrialization as envisioned in Agenda 2063 – where African youth remain at the center of the development agenda.