- President Kagame challenged African leaders to push for a more open border approach in trying to get a united continent.
- AU Commission chairman Faki said Africa needed to push for reforms if it were to guarantee its youth a better future.
The future of youth in Africa took centre stage during the presidential round table at the Kusi Ideas Festival in Kigali, Rwanda.
The presidential panel — themed “The Next 60 years in Africa: Looking for a win” — had leaders led by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki, and African Union Special Envoy for Infrastructure Raila Odinga discussing the continent’s youth.
In his contribution, the festival’s keynote speaker, President Kagame, challenged African leaders to push for a more open border approach in trying to get a united continent.
Mr Kagame noted that they have had a good start in pushing for reforms within the AU as they seek to secure a future for the continent’s largest population -- the youth.
“The start is good and the foundation is laid. We need to push ourselves to fulfil what we have agreed upon on the reforms so that we can have a good future for Africa’s young people. Much as we are not where we need to be or where we want to be, we need to understand the task and admit that we are up to it,” he said.
“We are so much behind on what we are trying to achieve now. This we should have achieved many years ago. But we will get there because we have the goodwill,” President Kagame said, adding that the young people are at the centre of driving the reform agenda in the continent.
President Tshisekedi said he was keen in creating employment opportunities for his country’s young people.
“This Kusi Ideas Festival reflection is very important for the future of Africa. The young people are the vector of development of my country and the continent as a whole.
We need to evaluate and question ourselves on how we can empower these young people, so that they are able to participate in the development of the continent and make it a winning Africa,” he said.
Mr Odinga challenged countries to empower young people to secure their future.
“Given the requisite education and skills, young people are the core of the continents growth story. We need to empower them with opportunities by creating investment opportunities, access to capital to allow them engage in enterprise development, and also allow private sector to thrive so that it can offer them economic empowerment platforms,” Mr Odinga said.
SETTING THE PACE