Last month I was invited to participate in the 2011 African Youth and Governance Conference as a panelist for the African Youth Economic Forum which took place on August 10, 2011 at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel. The conference was attended by over a 100 participants from all over Africa and the forum focused on Education; ICT; Natural Resources & Environment; Employment & Entrepreneurship; and Agriculture as key catalysts for sustaining growth and prosperity in Africa.
All in all, the experience was very powerful and more than ever, it is evident that Africa’s youth are poised for action and tired of the rhetoric and ‘talk shops’ that our current leaders are all too fond of. Case in point: the Ghanaian deputy minister of youth and employment was literally rooted in one spot as participants fired questions at him about HOW exactly government is working to solve the youth unemployment situation. Point blank they told him, ‘We don’t want to hear about policies. We want to know and see strategic action and interventions.”
Another thing that stood out to me about this particular conference was the fact that after the initial overview on Africa’s challenges and problems, everyone – speakers and participants alike – wanted to move right on to discussing recommendations and brainstorming solutions. And this we did, both in the Youth Economic Forum and the ICT and media panel which I moderated later that afternoon.
A communique, dubbed the Accra Youth Accord 2011, was developed following the conference with various activities in the works to address the key issues facing Africa’s youth. You can read the communique here and join the Facebook group.
As requested (and promised), you can now read my speech during the African Youth Economic Forum. Thanks to the peeps who sent in really good recommendations, and for those of you reading this, feel free to share your thoughts. Let’s keep the dialogue and action going!
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.