The chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki Mahamat launched what is called “the 1 million by 2021 Initiative”, which targets direct investment in millions of African youth.
The initiative will focus on the four key elements, namely employment, entrepreneurship, education and engagement (4Es), through leveraging partnerships and private sector opportunities.
The initiative was launched through a Pan African Youth Forum, themed Africa Unite for Youth: Bridging the Gap and Reaching African Youth.
Young people make up the bulk of Africa’s total population, with an estimated 75% of the continent’s population below the age of 35.
The “the 1 million by 2021 Initiative”, will be achieved by building capacity for quality education and skills improvement, health and wellbeing, good governance, human rights and accountability, employment opportunities, leadership skills, empowerment and entrepreneurship, Mahamat said while launching the initiative.
The initiative seeks to concretely provide opportunities in the 4Es for millions of African youths by the year 2021.This is the basis for prioritizing youth development by the AUC, as evidenced by the 2017 theme of the year: Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth.
Twelve pathways have been identified as drivers for the 4Es that will facilitate the expansion of opportunities in youth development: models for teacher development, mobilizing and catalysing capital growth for youth-led start-ups, nurturing start-ups, skills transfer hubs, internships and apprenticeships, digital skills, job centres, digital skills, leadership programs and exchange programs.
“The initiative requires that top continental players in the development space and the private sector pool their resources and opportunities together within a sustainable ecosystem built along collaborative and Pan-African lines,” Mahamat added.