The Young Giant

Youth Connekt Africa (YCA) was established in Rwanda in 2016 as the brainchild of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Government of Rwanda. Youth Connekt Africa aims to empower the youth and boost a young industrial Africa. The high unemployment rates affecting youth across Africa repress their potential which is why UNDP and the Government of Rwanda took it upon themselves to provide the youth with opportunities to create the economies they emulate.

YCA seeks to bring together individuals and groups of people regardless of gender, religion, and geographical borders for the greater good of African nations. YCA means integration, a higher integration. Government leaders, leaders of civil society, youth, African development partners, members of academia, artists, youth opinion leaders and entrepreneurs all come together for one cause, to empower the young people of Africa. Home becomes Africa.

As the years have progressed, other African countries have joined in on this quest including but not limited to Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi, Ethiopia, Ghana and Liberia. The aim is not only to eradicate high unemployment rates but to also educate and to help the youth recognize the power and potential they have. This program is in line with the UN goals which seek to empower young people to realize their full potential to ensure youth engagement and participation in implementing the 2030 agenda of sustainable development. YCA connects innovation hubs as they generate and create opportunities for young people. The focus is not only centered on entrepreneurship but is also aimed at presenting the potential of the arts, sports and cultural industry of Africa.

YCA is guided by five main goals:

Jobs and entrepreneurship: Create 10 million jobs by 2020 in sustainable job environments in emerging industries.

Education and skills: Create 25 million opportunities through training and enrolment in workplaces.

Civic participation and leadership: Identify, nurture and grow 1 million leaders that provide solutions, participate in advocacy, and become role models in their communities.

Gender: Develop sustainable initiatives and policies that reduce gender inequality in education, jobs, technology and leadership.

Technology and innovation: Form a ‘hub of hubs’ to connect incubation hubs across the continent and provide access to markets, innovation-friendly capital from partners, and partnership opportunities with peers across the continent. This pillar also seeks to nurture 5,000 digital ambassadors in each country to help connect and digitally empower 100,000,000 Africans, allowing skills to be transferred to their local communities.

The world is largely based on perception, therefore it is up to us to re-define the brand of Africa. This can be done through innovation and creativity. For us to embark on a successful quest of rebranding, we need to be fully equipped with the knowledge and armed with sufficient intellectual capital. 

Youth Connekt Africa being the largest youth gathering in the continent (attracting over 10,000 participants) has captured the attention of many African countries that before the pandemic occurred, a couple of African countries including Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia and Uganda were bidding to host the 2020 Summit which is usually held in Rwanda.

Taking on a holistic approach to the youth, Youth Connekt Africa does not only focus on the economic aspect of life but also covers several social aspects. For example, they have introduced Pathways to Development: Civic Engagement and Volunteerism to bring together leaders in government, development partners, and other relevant stakeholders to explore the role of volunteerism and civic engagement in community and development. It provides an exemplary and impactful method in which youth can engage in social accountability including young people with disabilities. Civic engagement and volunteerism are sustainable pathways to development, cultivating the need for youth to transform our planet into a better place. Young people across the world already complete the work of formal institutions to provide essential services to its people. YCA provides more resources to enable youth to further their initiatives beyond extending improved community services and responding in times of crisis.  They also build strong social capital, exchange of skills and knowledge, and improve cross cultural understanding.

Youth Connekt Africa builds a better Africa by developing well-rounded leaders who are proud to be African. 

To learn more about Youth Connekt Africa visit their media pages below:

Facebook: YouthConnektAfrica

What do you think should be the main topic of discussion at the next Youth Connekt Summit? How can African countries leapfrog developed economies to become self-sustainable? Share your thoughts in the comments below:

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