Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday urged African leaders to prioritize the creation of a conducive environment that will unlock the potential of the continent’s youth, to enable them contribute effectively to development.
Kenyatta said the African Union’s roadmap on harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the youth presents opportunities for transforming Africa’s youth bulge into a demographic dividend.
“We must ingrain in our youth a sense of African pride so that they completely transform our approach as to how we exploit the vast wealth and riches of our African earth,” he told the African Philanthropy Forum in Nairobi.
The president said leaders should aim to equip young people with the right educational tools to compete against their peers from across the globe and create a domestic environment for free enterprise to thrive and lead to job creation.
He said the current generation of young people has the potential of expanding Africa’s productive workforce, promoting entrepreneurship and becoming genuine instruments of change to reverse the devastation caused by climate change.
Kenyatta emphasized that time has come for leaders to publicly declare that no young person will be left behind and that their voices matter the most.
“We can make these voices to be heard through education, empowering them with information, mentorship and skills enhancement,” he said, adding that accelerating investments in solutions for youth employment in Africa will be driven by all stakeholders working together.
“Together, we can build a new wave of positively engaged and well-equipped young African professionals who can help the region realize the potential for collective innovation and social impact,” Kenyatta said.
Kenyatta, who serves as a global leader of the United Nations Generation Unlimited (GenU) programme, said the global initiative aims at ensuring all young people are actively and productively engaged and that all those aged 10 to 24 are either in school, in training or in employment.
He expressed optimism that with a diverse philanthropic landscape in Africa that includes trusts, private, corporate and family foundations and public corporate social investment units, accelerating the youth employment in Africa can be achieved.
The founder and chairman of the African Philanthropy Forum (APF) Gbenga Oyebode said the organization believes in strategic and effective giving which aims at empowering the youth so as to create more job opportunities for them.
He said the organization decided to partner with the Kenyatta Trust in order to consolidate and push its agenda of giving in areas of youth employment, leadership and education.
“The Kenyatta Trust, essentially consolidates and pushes the agenda of what we think is important, which focuses around areas of youth employment, leadership and education,” he said.
The African Philanthropy Forum partners with stakeholders in 12 African countries are committed to the inclusive and sustainable development of the African continent.
The Director of Kenyatta Trust, Ngina Kenyatta said the organization’s goal is to change and transform the lives of the underprivileged communities in Kenya through education, mentorship and economic empowerment.
“The trust’s main agenda it to create a new generation of young individuals with a progressive mindset to feel the needs of the ever-changing generation,” she said.
Kenyatta cited an example of a young man by the name Moses Etot from Turkana County in northwest Kenya, who is taking a course in petroleum engineering under the sponsorship of the trust in one of the top universities in China.