African Youth Development in Focus

The first-ever Africa Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting opened yesterday in Yaounde under the distinguished patronage of the Head of State, Paul Biya.

Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang says any nation that abandons young people cannot attain development. As personal representative of President Paul Biya, the Head of Government was addressing ministers in charge of youth development from over 20 Commonwealth African countries, youth leaders and dignitaries yesterday, February 9, 2015, in Yaounde during the opening ceremony of the 1st Africa Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting (ARCYMM).

Holding on the theme: “Young People Building a Stable and Sustainable Future,” the two-day meeting’s main objective is to discuss the Commonwealth Youth Development Agenda, opportunities and challenges for youth development in the region and also share best practices. While acknowledging the appropriateness of the theme, Philemon Yang said he was confident that youths will make choices that will lead to development.

After highlighting some of the strategies and aances in empowering young people in Cameroon particularly through the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper, the three-year Emergency Plan to create services and infrastructure in local communities as well as the creation of the National Youth Council in 2009, he underscored the threat of terrorism from the Boko Haram sect. “Young people have a God-given duty to reject extremism and terrorism,” he aised. He ended by expressing hope that the theme would guide discussions and usher in innovative strategies to be implemented in member countries.

Speaking earlier, the Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General, Deodat Maharaj, presented a panoply of statistics to argue that Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been experiencing economic growth, but regrettably 97 per cent of its exports to China – the most important trading partner of SSA – are primary commodities. To him, SSA countries should focus more on exporting value-added commodities that will boost manufacturing activity and produce youth employment since the public sector is unable to absorb the demand for jobs by youths.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, the Africa Representative at the Commonwealth Youth Council, Philibert Kiziah, said young people were ready and had come out with a document that will truly speak for them.

To chaperon their discussions, participants at the ARCYMM will listen to several presentations on aancing youth policy in the Commonwealth and the Post-2015 Development Agenda as well as youth entrepreneurship, civic education and participation in national development, amongst others. The high-profile meeting ends today, February 10, 2015 with recommendations.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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