NEW YORK, United States of America, November 29, 2021 / APO Group / –
From November 30 to December 2, 2021, Dakar will be the capital of Sahelian youth. The Senegalese capital will host young people from 10 Sahel countries for the first edition of the YouthConnekt Sahel Forum.
The Sahel is home to the youngest population in the world, with an estimated 65% under the age of 35. Despite this, growing instability, untapped natural resources, and the exclusion of youth from political and socio-economic processes continue to hamper the region’s growth. The YouthConnekt Sahel Forum 2021 aims to position the youth of the Sahel as leaders in the region’s development narrative by promoting youth-led innovation, participation and engagement.
Organized by YouthConnekt Africa Hub, in partnership with the Generation Unlimited Initiative in the Sahel (GenUSahel), the Government of Senegal, the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP ), the Forum will create a platform for the youth of the Sahel to voice their problems, promote local solutions, rename the region and shape the future they want.
“The youth of the Sahel of today are the generation that will change the fate of the subregion,” said Ahunna Eziakonwa, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Africa. “Investing in youth, particularly in their leadership role as change agents in managing resources, fostering climate adaptation and building resilience is how we can address the triple threat of poverty, violence and change. while building more inclusive and safe communities. YouthConnekt Sahel Forum provides a platform to start a much-needed conversation about how together we can regenerate the Sahel. “
The YouthConnekt Sahel Forum will meet annually to connect youth from across the region and beyond with policy influencers, political leaders, industry titans, and development institutions to engage, debate, design and accelerate the empowerment efforts of Young. Over three days, a combination of youth-focused events will take place, including briefings, high-level plenaries, panel discussions, keynote speeches, mini-workshops, awards, learning tours, exhibitions, and cultural events.
Senegal’s Minister of Youth, Néné Fatoumata Tall, welcomed the initiative that aims to address social, economic and political disparities, such as the exclusion of young people from political participation. He emphasized that the platform “will reposition young people who are often left out of decision-making processes. A conscientious, educated and protected youth is a mandatory requirement to address the main challenges of the subregion and the continent ”.
The Forum will also mark the official launch of the YouthConnekt Sahel Regional Initiative and the YouthConnekt Senegal Chapter, with discussions focused on opportunities for youth empowerment and economic, social, digital and political engagement.
“The potential of Sahelian youth has gone unnoticed, mainly due to the prevailing challenges in the region,” said Njoya Tikum, Manager of the UNDP Subregional Center for West and Central Africa. “We have a golden opportunity to reverse this trend and direct the region’s greatest resource to shape its future and that of the region.”
The YouthConnekt Sahel initiative will inspire, connect and empower young Sahelians to change the name of the Sahel from fragility, crisis and violence to a land of opportunity and investment. The initiative will also strengthen national YouthConnekt programs to provide critical support to youth, promote innovative and promising practices, and reinforce local solutions as integrated models to empower youth and contribute to national development.
“Young Sahelians are the engine to boost their economies and contribute to the development of the region. YouthConnekt Africa Hub stands firmly together with partners to empower young Sahelians to secure their livelihoods and enable them to develop strong leadership, establish and participate. on relevant platforms to ensure an improved economy in their respective YouthConnekt chapters, “said Oulie Keita, CEO of YouthConnekt Africa Hub.
Since its launch in 2017, YouthConnekt Africa has been at the forefront of the youth empowerment ecosystem on the continent, equipping young Africans with opportunities for economic, social and civic leadership; increase access to finance and technical assistance for scalable youth-led businesses and innovative youth empowerment initiatives; and improve the ownership of the socio-economic transformation agenda for young people.
Several African countries have expressed great interest in learning from YouthConnekt and replicating the model in their respective countries. Among the 10 UNISS Sahel countries, YouthConnekt Africa is present in nine, namely: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. Nigeria is preparing to launch its national chapter.
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