African leaders from the public and private sectors pledged to support Africa’s innovative youth projects at the ongoing YouthConnekt Africa Summit that kicked off Thursday in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
“The Africa we want is one led by healthy, ambitious, empowered, creative, innovative and educated youth; so to get to this dream state, we need to look at the whole picture of development, leaving no problem unattended,” Rwandan First Lady Jeannette Kagame said on Friday as she addressed the youth.
He mentioned the need to encourage young people holistically, so that the future is bright for them, so that fewer of them “identify with anxiety about the future and even depression.”
During the three-day summit, leaders from public, private and civil society organizations participated in plenary sessions and round tables where they shared messages of encouragement to young people.
Tapera Muzira, coordinator of the Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative at the African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Friday: “There is a problem of getting the right financial products. We need institutions that comply with businessmen; we are committed to establishing these institutions so that we can move away from worrying about guarantees.”
These new institutions will be in charge of mobilizing enough capital for the business expansion of young entrepreneurs, he said, adding that such institutions would be fully designed to meet the specific needs of entrepreneurs that are not served by current financing systems.
“When there is an opportunity, young people need to strategize without fear. We need to increase the potential of young Africans to ensure that they benefit from the inclusion of young people in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”, said Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, Minister of Trade and Industry of Rwanda.
The discussions of the participants focused on enabling the youth of Africa to be part of an inclusive and resilient Africa by creating an environment that allows them to provide innovative solutions and ideas for the development of the continent.
The summit is the largest annual youth summit in Africa. It is a continental initiative with a mission to empower young people by enhancing their knowledge, experiences and skills while investing in their ideas, innovations and initiatives to harness Africa’s demographic dividend.
The theme of this year’s summit is “Accelerating Investments in Youth: Resilient Youth, Resilient Africa”.
There are more than 226 million people between the ages of 15 and 24 on the continent, according to the UN.