The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says it is critical that African governments expedite industrialisation on the continent to stop illegal migration and curb the exports of raw materials.
Dlamini-Zuma addressed the Pan African Parliament’s Intergenerational Dialogue in Midrand, Johannesburg
She also urged African governments to invest in youth development to ensure that they play a meaningful role in building the continent.
About 65% of Africa’s population is under the age of 35 and the majority of them form part of the millions of unemployed youth.
Dlamini-Zuma told law-makers and young people at the Intergenerational Dialogue that the large exports of raw materials from the continent are depriving the many unemployed youth of jobs.
She says young people must ensure that policies focus on skills and industrialisation.
“So we are the biggest exporters of jobs and revenue, but on the other side of the equation we have lots of people unemployed. We are a very rich continent with poor people and our riches are going out to deal with poverty in other countries and poverty remains in Africa. So industrialisation is not just a nice thing to have. It has to be done.”
As South Africa emerges from the recent xenophobic violence, Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela called on the youth to drive unity in the continent. “This intergenerational dialogue should be about the reaffirmation of the role that young women and young people in general should play towards African unity and in bringing down the borders that have kept the older generation divided.”
The AU’s Agenda 2063 commits to empowering young people as innovators and entrepreneurs.
We need to silence the gun on our continent
Dlamini-Zuma, encouraged governments to invest in developing Africa’s youth to ensure they play an active role in transforming Africa into a peaceful and prosperous continent.
However, she says the youth must also desist from participating in conflicts. “We need to silence the gun on our continent. It’s not a must that there should always be a country where guns are blazing, but of cause the majority of the countries the guns are silent. We must make sure that Agenda 2063 is implemented because if we don’t implement it in those countries where the guns are silent, instability will start.”
The African youth has called for the establishment of a continental youth development fund.
President of the Pan African Youth Union, Francine Muyumba says the proposed youth development fund would provide resources for the implementation of various youth programmes and initiative with clear deliverables.
“The youth acknowledged the need to established a continental youth development fund to support youth development programmes, reflecting on the successful mobilization of the Ebola support response. We believe that the same model can be applied to mobilise support and assistance to the operationalisation of the youth development fund.”
Dlamini-Zuma says the AU is finalising the first ten-year implementation plan of the Agenda 2063 which will be presented to heads of states at the AU Summit in June to be held at Sandton.
The Intergenerational Dialogue gives young people a platform to voice their issues and influence the process in their benefit.