Africa’s youth renew commitment to the SDGs

Young people in Africa have pledged to work harder and ensure that the continent achieves its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

In a virtual discussion organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) under the theme “Africa’s Youth in The Decade of Action: Actors or Bystanders” on December 20, youth from across the continent agreed that they have a role to play in ensuring that Africa achieves the SDGs.

Climate and environmental activist, Elizabeth Wathuti, commended her peers across Africa who are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the SDGs are attained by 2030.

“As a climate activist, I have not been sitting back and feeling helpless…I started growing trees at the tender age of seven,” she said.

Ms. Wathuti noted, however, that Africa’s youth need to be taken more seriously and that their voices and interests should be an integral part of decision-making processes.

“Youth engagement doesn’t mean inviting young people to panels. Serious engagement means internalizing the fact that young people and future generations have the biggest stake in decisions made today,” said Ms. Wathuti.

The UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, said Africa is blessed to have the world’s youngest population with a median age of just 19.7 years. She expressed confidence in the youths’ ability to steer the continent’s trajectory in the 21st century, cautioning that “their success or failure will also be that of the continent as a whole.”

Ms. Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNECA Executive Secretary, said despite the negative effects, COVID-19 has presented huge opportunities in the areas of innovation and tourism, showing that Africa has the potential to grow and create jobs for its youth.

She urged young people to use such opportunities to “create their own jobs and become the employers and entrepreneurs for a prosperous Africa by 2030.”

Source: Africa Renewal