By Mandipa Masenyama
YOUNG African people have pledged to work harder towards ensuring continental sustainable development goals (SDGs) and urged the African governments to invest more in Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to curb youth unemployment crisis.
In her address, climate and environments activist Elizabeth Wathuti commended her fellow youths for the efforts of attaining the vision 2030 and alluded that the voice and interest of youths must be taken seriously in Africa and youths must also be engaged in decision making processes.
“Youth engagement doesn’t mean inviting young people onto panels. Serious engagement means internalizing the fact that young people and future generations have the biggest stake in decisions made today,” said Wathuti.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe said despite the tragedy brought by Covid-19, it has presented many opportunities in the areas of innovation and tourism, showing that Africa has a better chance to grow and create job opportunities for youths and urged youths to grab these opportunities and become employers and entrepreneurs for a prosperous Africa by 2030.
Songwe pointed out that the younger generation is the one mostly affected by the achievement of SDGs by 2030 as it is of benefit to them for a better environment in all aspects of life.
“They stand to gain the most from high-quality education, decent work, gender equality and a healthy planet – or to lose the most if the world fails to reach those goals. Their energy, ideals and initiatives are crucial for achieving the goals,” Songwe added.
Founder of The Africa I Know, Adji Bousso Dieng alluded that lack of investment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is hindering Africa at large, especially the youths employment opportunities of transforming raw materials to end products.
“We don’t have the skills and infrastructure in place that can transform raw material into final products for export. This denies the youth the employment opportunity on the continent,” said Dieng.
Burning issues to do with poverty, unemployment and education across African countries were raised by the youths and said that these areas need special attention for Africa to progress.
Africa has been a breeding place for poverty, unemployment and school dropout which has resulted in the development of Africa to progress at a slower pace.