Addis Ababa - More than 300 youths from the five
regions of Africa made a historic appearance on Saturday at the Africa
Hall in Addis Ababa, where the OAU, now AU, was established in 1963.
The African youths, led by an Ethiopian, Daniel Adugna, 27, called on
African leaders to always listen to them and to create platforms for
raising issues relating to youths.
The East Africa correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
reports that the occasion was the Intergenerational Dialogue, organised
for African youths.
They called on the AU to create mechanisms that would facilitate
communication between them, African leaders and the rest of the
continent, and to always take into account, contributions made by them
to development efforts.
They expressed interest in the use of existing means and tools of
communication, especially the Information Technology and the new social
media to reach out to their leaders.
NAN reports that current and former African presidents
listened attentively as the youths outlined their views on the kind of
Africa they would want to see by 2063 and their expectations for the
well-being of African youths.
The youth assembly was held on the margins of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the OAU, now AU.
The anniversary is taking place concurrently with the 21st Ordinary
Session of the AU Summit, with Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia's former
president, in attendance.
Kaunda, one of the founding fathers of the OAU, lauded the AU
Commission (AUC) and the Economic Commission for Africa for
organising the dialogue.
He described the dialogue as "very relevant’’ as it would help to sustain the development agenda of Africa.
Dr Dlamini Zuma, the Chairperson of AUC, and Mr Carlos
Lopes, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa
(UNECA), addressed the theme, Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance in
their respective statements.
The AUC chairperson underlined the symbolic importance of exchanging
views with the youth in the historic conference hall where "our leaders
met exactly 50 years ago on May 25, 1963.
"On that historic day, the African leaders discussed the unity of
the African people and the liberation struggle to free African countries
from colonialism,’’ she said.
Zuma called on the youths to mobilise and shape the Africa they would want to see in the next 50 years.
"What Africa do we want to see in 2063; what role do we have to play
to get us there, how do we ensure an Africa that is united, prosperous
Zuma appealed to the youths to get involved in all socioeconomic and
political activities and decision making of their respective countries.
"As youths, you must participate in the construction
of your nations' economic growth through innovation, research, science
and technology and agriculture, among others,’’ she said.
This, she said, would help to enhance the continental projects of the
AU such as infrastructure development, food security, peace, security,
gender empowerment and education.
The debate, jointly organised by the Department of Human Resources,
Science and Technology of the AU and the UNECA, gave the youths the
opportunity to interact with former and some current Heads of State.
The intergenerational dialogue provided a platform for the discussion
of issues of crucial importance to the development of youths in Africa
and the Diaspora.
The Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the Presidents of Senegal, Liberia, Zambia, Kenya and Botswana attended the session.