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Amplifying voices of African youth

2021-11-24  Paheja Siririka

Amplifying voices of African youth
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Bridging the gap between governments and the youth is key to seeking solutions and implementing ideas on the continent, something the newly-appointed African Union Youth Envoy intends pursuing.

Chido Cleopatra Mpemba from Zimbabwe, who was appointed in that position earlier this month, takes over the two-year assignment from Tunisia’s Aya Chebbi

Mpemba made her first official trip on the invite of Namibia for the launch of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) report on youth unemployment.

“I think it is very important to bridge the gap between the youth and organisations as well as government institutions and their leaders, because young people have so many things to say and contribute to in terms of building their various countries and the continent,” said Mpemba.

She told Youth Corner that being a youth envoy is a huge mandate and big responsibility since she is representing more than 35 member states and all the diverse voices in different communities, including the marginalised ones. 

“One big thing is youth unemployment, and it is important that the voice of the youth is heard when seeking solutions. I commend the work of the APRM, which is why I came to Namibia on their invite,” stated Mpemba.

On youth unemployment, she said: “We need to make sure that we tackle it directly towards the challenges that young people are facing on the ground”.

“Collaboration to meet this is important and while I am sitting in this office, I am not the only one who is going to be putting those recommendations to the governments or the member states, but I will closely work with the various youth leaders.”

Mpemba advised Namibian youth and the continent at large to actively participate in the democratic processes in their respective countries. 

“We need to ask ourselves, as much as there is policy, what cultures and channels are open to interacting on a platform or environment that is open and friendly to the young people to participate?”

She used the opportunity to applaud Namibia for being the first country to have a youth advisor to the president. Uganda and Ghana followed suit, and she hopes the same will be replicated across member states.

The youthful leader began her career as a banker and worked for several institutions across the globe to coordinate and manage youth-focused initiatives, with most of her initiatives focusing on social equity, policy advocacy and climate change.

2021-11-24  Paheja Siririka

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