The second edition of the African Youth SDGs Summit, an annual continental gathering of African youths aimed at mobilizing and inspiring active youth participation in the implementation of the SDGs, has Wednesday commenced in Accra, Ghana, with over 1000 youth delegates from across 43 African countries in attendance.
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This year’s Summit themed: “Partnership with Youth to Achieve the SDGs: Moving from Policy to Actions” holds November 7 to 9 and is jointly co-hosted by the 2030 Youth Alliance and UNFPA under the auspices of Ghana’s planning ministry and the SDGs Advisory Unit at the Office of the President of Ghana, UNDP and UNICEF.
Mabingue Ngom, special guest at the Summit and UNFPA’s regional director for West and Central Africa, in his speech said Africa’s “most precious resource” was its predominantly youthful population adding that African youths would only prosper “if we invest in their education and health.”
“If we invest in their education and health, this investment will be the sine qua non for achieving the SDGs; there is no way we can achieve the SDGs if we don’t invest on youths. Youths from Sub Saharan Africa continue to battle with unwanted pregnancies and diseases and are vulnerable to dangerous migration and terrorism. This is because they are economically dependent; they either lack jobs or are underemployed which makes them susceptible to migration and terrorism,” said Ngom.
In a video message to the Summit, UN Secretary General’s Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake said “the summit’s quest to mobilize youths deserves our support. It seeks to ensure [African] youths participate in the process of bringing about change in their lives; investment in youths is an investment in humanity. We therefore need to address the challenges being faced by youths regarding climate change and sexual and reproductive health.”
Earlier on, while providing an overview of the Summit, Emmanuel Ametepey, its convener, said the event had become a rallying point for ideas sharing on accountability and commitment towards pushing for the realization of the SDGs in Africa adding that the Summit’s outcome will be a political declaration calling for action towards acceleration of the realization of the Global Goals in Africa.