The African Union has declared 2017 ‘the Year of the Youth.’ Excited about this initiative, the Pan African Parliament’s Youth Caucus has lined up activities and programmes to ensure visibility for youth across the continent.
The President of the PAP Youth Caucus, Hon. Djidda Mamar Mahamat said this year belonged to the youth and the youth were going to make their presence felt.
The Youth Caucus is looking forward to promoting, defending and protecting the good values of African cultures, legal values and common international values. This will be achieved through conducting a Youth Forum on the African Union instruments related to human rights and on the African Youth Charter.
He said 2017 was also going to see the strengthening youth capacity. The Youth Caucus will be organising an annual conference under the theme of peace, security, immigration and employment.
Hon. Mahammat said the youth had a key role to play in promoting integration and development in Africa. To this end PAP is working towards contributing to the promotion of regional and continental integration.
The Youth Caucus will later this year hold a workshop on harmonization of national models and strategies to inspire a model strategy relating to the promotion of African youths. He said these are the concrete steps being taken by PAP to ensure the visibility of the youth.
The Vice President of the Youth Caucus, Hon. Maria Ivone Rensamo Soares says the PAP Youth Caucus has so much in store for the youth.
She said they were working towards addressing youth programmes and funding constraints, with the hope that all their programmes would be well-resourced this year. Hon. Soares said measures were being taken to identify focal persons from each African country to represent the youth. Youth programmes will then be hosted in different countries that would have been identified by the PAP Youth Caucus.
Members of the Youth Caucus bemoaned the fact that most youth programmes currently being undertaken by civil society organizations, more often than not, did not have widespread representation. Members of the Caucus felt that they are the representatives of civil society and civil society should not be dictating to them what to do. To this end the Youth caucus agreed to scale up publicity and visibility programmes if they were indeed going to make 2017 count as ‘The Year of the Youth.’