With over 453 million Africans aged 15- 35, and therefore belong to the category “youth”, it remains a priority that African youth are at the core of the continent’s development agenda recognizing that the development outcomes of Africa’s young people have a significant and lasting effect on the continent’s trajectory. The challenges Africa faces in education, employment, health, and governance are most acutely and directly experienced by Africa’s youth.
The African Union Commission recognizes the importance of centering youth in achieving the aspirations of Agenda 2063 (Aspiration 6) and has continuously prioritized inclusive approaches to ensure that young people are given the opportunity to directly guide the development of the continent as a whole. This guided by the African Youth Charter and the roadmap on harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth, Agenda 2063 and its youth- centered action plans serve as continental frameworks which continuously reflect the prioritization of youth development by the African Union Commission and AU Member States. The Commission’s strategy on youth engagement aims to strengthen its relationship with youth, and equip them with the spaces needed to amplify their voices to audiences of influence while confronting the existing barriers that compromise meaningful youth engagement. This is where the office of the AU Youth Envoy established in 2018 comes in.
The Youth Envoy’s office is mandated to engage African Youth on the continent and in the diaspora in order to draw them towards supporting and promoting positive social change, encourages intergenerational dialogue and concrete action for Africa’s development as underscored and guided by Agenda 2063. Despite the very progressive efforts of the AU commission, the challenges and barriers that hinder youth development continue to exist and in many cases have continued to worsen with high unemployment rates, increasing political apathy and poverty, to name a few.
Against this background, the German Africa Foundation invited Chido Mpemba to a new session of DAS Talk. Mpemba has been the African Union Special Envoy on Youth since November 2021 and is the youngest diplomat in the cabinet of the Chairperson of the African Union.
What are the role and the objectives of the AU Youth Envoy? What are the challenges of young people in Africa and how does the office of the AU Youth Envoy address them? What’s the vision of young people for the continent?
Welcome Remarks and Moderation:
Sabine Odhiambo, Secretary General of the German Africa Foundation
Chido Cleopatra Mpemba, African Union Special Envoy on Youth
Followed by Q&A
About the Guest:
Ms. Chido Mpemba is the Youngest Diplomat in the African Union Chairperson’s Cabinet. She leads on youth affairs with the responsibility to front the voices of over 870 Million youth in the 55 Countries of the African Union and Governments in Africa as the African Union Special Envoy on Youth.
Recognized on the list of 100 most Influential African Women and CNN New York as Top 100, Under 40 Most Influential People of African Descent, she is a Pan–African youth advocate. She has worked with various institutions to coordinate activities focused on social equity and policy advocacy including on education, climate change, public health whilst promoting the continental framework on Youth, Peace & Security in Africa and advocating for African Countries to ratify the AU Youth Charter .