What is the Youth Division doing?

African Youth Day: Youth United in
Action for Agenda 2063
Prioritizing Youth Empowerment
By Prudence Ngwenya
Africa and its Youth Bulge
Over 65% of Africa’s 1 Billion Population is
under the age of 35
40% of Africa’s Population is classified as
“Youth” (i.e. age 15 -35)
This makes Africa the most ‘Youthful’ continent
Youth however remains largely disenfranchised
in the continent’s development
Unemployment No. 1 concern among youth
From a negative image…
• In most of our societies, young people are
associated with negative behavior
• In many countries, ‘youth’ is associated with
delinquency, gangs, public disorder, civil strife
as well as drug and alcohol abuse.
• On the contrary - young people can and want
to participate in all aspects of society! Their
commitment and active involvement in many
voluntary organizations is the best example!!!
Towards a positive approach 
• Young people are a rich and dynamic force
• Precarious living conditions such as unemployment, exclusion and
poverty may threaten their potential to lead healthy and productive
• Therefore, it is essential that young people be able to build the
capacities that foster their active involvement in society and
alleviate the risk of becoming disillusioned and prone to destructive
behavior -------}NEED for empowerment!!!
• Thus, young people need to be enabled with the kinds of
opportunities and skills which will support their empowerment and
allow them to become full and equal partners. Whereas it is clear
that the problems of young people cannot be ignored, changing our
image of and approach towards youth is crucial!
Core themes
• Youth Participation
• Youth Mainstreaming
• Youth Empowerment
Youth Participation
• Youth have a say in decisions that affect their
lives, organizations and communities.
• Youth have an important contribution to make in
decisions that impact on their lives, organizations
and communities;
• Young have the skills, knowledge and confidence
to get involved with decision making; and
• A culture exists within which young people's
opinions and contributions are recognized, valued
and acted upon by wider society.
The 3 lens approach to youth participation
Youth Mainstreaming
• Means that youth issues are no longer to be confined
to a specific thematic program or targeted projects but,
owing to their multidisciplinary and trans-sectoral
nature, are to be considered and integrated into all
programmes and initiatives.
• Priority 5 of the AUC : Mainstream the participation of
women and the youth in all priorities and activities of
the AUC and the continent
• This is a blueprint for policy and action aimed at
improving the conditions of youth in Africa.
Youth Mainstreaming cont..
• Allocating a proportion of all relevant budgets to
youth development;
• Introducing a youth assets perspective to the
work of all relevant bodies;
• Setting up appropriate mechanisms for youth
participation in policy-making;
• Systematically monitoring and reporting progress
made in youth development; and
• Building the body of knowledge on youth affairs.
Youth Empowerment
• An attitudinal, structural, and cultural process whereby
young people gain the ability, authority, and agency to
make decisions and implement change in their own lives
and the lives of other people, including youth and adults
• Young people are empowered when they acknowledge
that they have or can create choices in life, are aware of the
implications of those choices, make an informed decision
freely, take action based on that decision and accept
responsibility for the consequences of those actions.
• Empowering young people means creating and supporting
the enabling conditions under which young people can act
on their own behalf, and on their own terms, rather than at
the direction of others."
What is the Youth Division doing?
1. Develop policy frameworks on youth at Continental
level for implementation at Member State level
2. Harmonize national youth policies across all AU
Member States
3. Build the capacity of Member States by providing
technical assistance (CTAM)
4. Build capacity of youth led and youth serving
networks in Africa
5. Implement youth empowerment programs
Key points to remember
• Young people have specific needs and
aspirations and constitute an enormous
potential for social development
• We need to promote a more positive image of
• Young people do want to participate. Their
involvement is key to all development efforts
and to the creation of just and democratic
Merci Beaucoup 