The African Leadership Institute’s Project Pakati which is funded by the Ford Foundation and the African Union Office of the Youth Envoy (OYE) are collaborating through the Joint Youth Inclusion Project to bolster youth inclusion on the African continent. This project will advocate for best practices that introduce policies to facilitate greater youth inclusion in governance and positions of influence on the continent, as well as the implementation thereof.
Africa is, demographically, the youngest continent in the world with youth accounting for the highest proportion of the population. The youth account for more than 70 per cent of Africa’s population. Yet, despite their numerical significance throughout the region, they remain excluded from political and socio-economic arenas. Overall, there is an appreciation that youth are significant dividends of the continent’s population, and that they need to be included in decision-making processes in various spaces from boards of organisations and companies to national governance spaces.
The African Union, through its African Youth Charter, which was signed in 2006 in Banjul, the Gambia, enshrines the rights, duties and freedoms of African youth. Specifically, the Charter seeks to ensure the constructive involvement of youth in the development agenda of Africa and their effective participation in the debates and decision-making processes in the development of the continent.
The Charter sets a framework to enable policymakers to mainstream youth issues in all development policies and programmes. It, thus, provides a legal basis for ensuring youth presence and participation in government structures and fora at national, regional and continental levels. This workshop and its objectives are particularly guided by two Articles in the African Youth Charter, namely:
- Article 14.2 which seeks to facilitate the participation of young people in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of national development plants policies and poverty reduction strategies.
- Article 26 which specifically notes one of the responsibilities of Youth as follows- To “become the custodians of their own development” whilst Article 26.9d promotes young people to “partake fully in citizen duty including voting, decision making and governance.”
The 2006 Charter has thus far been signed by 43 African Union member states and has been ratified and deposited by 39. In the same vein, the Assembly of Heads of States adopted on 31 January 2011 at its Sixteenth Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration (ACVPA), which is recognized as a fundamental achievement that will form the basis for driving quality public service delivery for all African citizenry.
Yet, a real commitment to these agreements seems to be lacking as youth remain marginalized and excluded from political and other important decision-making processes. For a continent that is disproportionately young, young people are conspicuous by their absence at key deliberations that affect their futures.
This workshop is the joint undertaking of the African Leadership Institute and the African Union Youth Envoy, who share the same objectives in this regard.
Guided by the Youth Charter, the African Charter on Public Service and Administration, the African Union Office of the Youth Envoy (OYE) 2019/20 Action Plan and Agenda 2063, AFLI’s Project Pakati supports the AU Youth Envoy’s belief that “it is inevitable today for our generation to own our voices, occupy leadership positions and lead our continent to where she deserves to be’’ Like the AU OYE, Project Pakati also wishes to: “inspire impactful actions; reinforce the implementation of progressive policies and projects including African Youth Charter, African Youth Development Fund, etc.; and, promote agency, participation and accountability’’.
- Map the African youth inclusion landscape, and conduct a gap analysis, aligned to the AU Youth Development Index, which highlights progress on youth inclusion in Africa as mandated by the Africa Youth Charter, and identifies areas for improvement;
- Identify ‘Champions’; which are countries leading in the area of youth inclusion and leadership;
- Promote good practices and encourage inter-country and pan-African learning and replication of what works, as well as scaling up of best practise in terms of youth inclusion;
- Enhance state and selected stakeholder’s awareness of the importance of youth participation in the political, social and economic spheres of influence;
- Promote policies to boost youth involvement in all levels and areas of decision-making.
In this vein, the African Leadership Institute and the African Union Office of the Youth Envoy, with the support of the African Union Department of Political Affairs and the African Union Youth Division, are co-organizing a virtual workshop to discuss the specific policy reforms and best practices to increase youth inclusion in governance and public service on the continent.
This workshop serves to consolidate knowledge from experts and practitioners on youth inclusivity policy in governance on the continent. It aims to assess in a structured and rigorous way, what drives and inhibits change, the obstacles to policymakers and politicians in making such reforms, and how best to implement progressive reforms for greater youth inclusion in governance on the continent. It is a pan-African workshop and considers reforms that have been introduced across the continent, focusing on a gradient of reforms, namely:
- Lowering the barriers to political participation and entry into governance
- Creating a culture of intergenerational learning and work readiness in public service through youth quotas and internships
- Leveraging expertise and innovation through Advisory Bodies and Special Advisory Roles
- Establishing parallel youth governance and parliamentary structures
More broadly, the larger aim of the workshop is to facilitate an intergenerational dialogue where policymakers and young Africans can co-create solutions for the youth inclusion space in Africa.
After much consultation and given the travel and social restrictions currently in place because of the threat of COVID-19, we made the decision to host the workshop virtually.
To gain as much insight and learning as possible, the workshop will take place over two days engagement;
Day 1 – will consist of four breakaway closed sessions with policymakers and government officials to delve deeply into the policy reforms undertaken by the governments they represent which have created an atmosphere for greater inclusion of youth in governance and public service.
Day 2 – is an open discussion consisting of a plenary session with young African leaders, presentations from AU Department of Political Affairs and Youth Division. The insights from the first day will be shared to all the participants for broader debates, discussion and questions from young people across the continent on the limitations, obstacles and key considerations for better inclusion.
|10:00 – 10:10||Welcome and opening remarks||Ms. Aya Chebbi (AU Youth Envoy)|
|10:10 – 10:20||Introductory remarks and report back on the breakaway sessions||Dr Jacqueline Chimhanzi (CEO of AFLI)|
|10:20 – 10:30
||Presentation on African Charter on the Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration||Mr. Kevin T. Tchatcho (Public Service Division, AU Political Affairs Department)|
|10:30 – 10:40
||Presentation on the African Youth Charter||Ms. Prudence Ngwenya (Head of Youth Division, AU HRST)|
|10:40 – 11:00||Youth in public service: limitations, obstacles and key considerations from young public servants||Ms. Rose Wachuka (Was the youngest in Supreme court of Kenya, now Chief of Staff of
Amb.Amina Mohamed)Ms.Bogolo Kenewendo (Former Minister of investment, trade and industry, Botswana)
Ms.Emma Theofelus (Deputy Information and
Technology Minister, Namibia)
|11:00 – 11:30||Debates, limitations, obstacles and key considerations||African Union- Office of the Youth Envoy|
|11:30 – 11:45
||Q & A||African Union- Office of the Youth Envoy|
|11:45 – 12:00||Concluding session: a summary of key takeaways and the way forward||Dr Jacqueline Chimhanzi (CEO of AFLI)|
The findings of the workshop will be distilled and worked into a publication, which will serve as a powerful tool for advocating and engaging with other member states for greater youth inclusivity in governance on the continent. It will draw on these experiences, best practise and the learnings of the participants.