ECOSOC Youth Forum (30 - 31 January 2017) : The Role of Youth in Poverty Eradication and promoting prosperity in a changing world

Breakout Session: "Africa’s Youth on the Rise! Harnessing Africa’s Youth Dividend to Achieve Prosperity for All”

  • The lively breakout session on Africa's youth was co-moderated by Ms. Francine Furaha Muyumba (middle) and Ms. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (right).

  • Private sector representatives engaged with the youth to provide information on opportunities for training and employment.

  • Sierra Leone's Minister of Youth Affairs Bai Mahmoud Bangura addressed the session.

  • The Deputy Permanent Representative of Malawi to the UN, Lot Dzonzi, urged the youth to be innovative and create their own employment opportunities.

  • Participants urged governments and organisations to listen to the youth and engage them at every level.

  • Participants underlined the need for forums such as this to become more result-oriented.

Consistent with Sustainable Development Goal 1 of the 2030 Agenda and Aspiration 1 and 6 of the African Union Agenda 2063, the regional break out session on Africa sets out to craft recommendations to create opportunities for youth through the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063 while addressing poverty in all its forms in particular among the vulnerable population, youth and women, in Africa. The regional break out session on Africa will present its recommendations to the plenary session of the ECOSOC 2017 Youth Forum.

Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, Agenda 2063 and its First Ten-Year Implementation Plan, and as mandated by Paragraph 90 of Agenda 2030, the ECOSOC Youth Forum’s regional breakout session on Africa provided a platform for young people around the world with emphasis on young Africans to engage with Member States, the private sector, academia, civil society, philanthropic organisations, and the Diaspora to discuss and  share ideas and identify means for the effective implementation of Agenda 2030 and 2063 as well as to find solutions to challenges facing youth, including poverty, unemployment and underemployment, gender inequality, peace and security, human rights, environmental degradation and climate change and usually lack of high level recognition of their efforts and support.

Specifically, the session garnered input from the African youth dimension to inform the work of the 2017 ECOSOC Youth Forum and High-level Political Forum on the SDGs implementation. In addition, the discussion aimed to:

  • Identify concrete policies that can foster youth engagement in the implementation of SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, and 14 of Agenda 2030.
  • Outline the responsibility of young people in the attainment of both Agenda 2030 and 2063.
  • Provide guidance for effective youth engagement at all levels of decision making as well as to foster inclusivity.
  • Raise continued awareness of the SDGs and the goals of Agenda 2063 to increase advocacy for collective action.
  • Promote networking and exchanges among young people.

The event was structured as an interactive session, featuring youth representatives from Africa and beyond and co- moderated by two prominent African youth representatives, Ms. Francine Furaha Muyumba, President, Pan African Youth Union, and Ms. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator of the Indigenous Women and Peoples Association of Chad. The event was open to all and especially encourages the participation of African youth.

The meeting was webcast to allow a wide range of participants in particular youth in Africa to follow the regional break out session on Africa.

The African Youth Dividend

In a rapidly changing world, the centrality of youth action in shaping present and future opportunities cannot be over emphasized as youth are the current and future active citizens of the world. The theme of the youth dividend and youth bulge is increasingly centre-stage in the socio-economic and environmental discourse and with more than sufficient reason; according to the United Nations there are 1.2 billion youth aged 15-24 globally as of 2015, accounting for one out of every six people (17%) worldwide. This is predicted to increase to one out of every four people, which means there would be 1.3 billion youth by 2030. Africa is home to 20 % of the world youth, and 75 % of the population on the continent is under the age of 35.

Africa’s youth population presents immense opportunities for the continent while other world regions face an aging population with subsequent issues such as high health costs for elderly care and high demand for skilled and qualified labour. This is where the concept of the demographic dividend comes in, which describes the process by which countries benefit from acceleration in economic growth as a result of a higher proportion of economically active people compared to dependents.

Learn More about Youth Empowerment and the Demographic Dividend >>

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Did you know?

  • 226 million youth aged 15-24 lived in Africa in 2015, representing nearly 20% of Africa’s population.
  • By 2030, Africa will be home to 42% of the world's youth.
  • By the end of the 21st century, almost 40 % of the world’s inhabitants will be African.