Over the last decades, Africa has been experiencing rapid technological and economic development creating new opportunities for millions of people all over the continent.
However, with more than 226 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa has the youngest population and the highest youth unemployment rate (60%) – in the world. Lack of employment opportunities, low levels of education and skills combined with limited access to sexual and reproductive health services, have resulted in a generation of young people with almost no association to the formal job market.
YouthConnekt is a result of a highly successful initiative launched in 2012 by the Government of Rwanda with United Nations Development Program.
In 2016, 14 countries in Africa expressed interest in the scale up of the initiative. In partnership with UNCTAD and UNDP, the Government of Rwanda is hosting the inaugural YouthConnekt Africa Summit to initiate the rollout of the program across the continent.
YouthConnekt Africa is designed to realize Africa’s demographic dividend by combining elements of skills development, entrepreneurship, access to jobs and finance, awareness raising on issues related to youth development, and promotion of youth citizenship and leadership. By changing mindsets, engaging youth in National Policy, fostering solidarity, engaging youth in delivering SDGs.
The inaugural YouthConnekt Africa summit has brought together Heads of States and special guests including Jack Ma, Special Adviser to UNCTAD on young entrepreneurs and small business and Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Dr. Mukhisa KITUYI, Secretary-General of UNCTAD and Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa.
Photos by Natasha Batamuriza