“The Youth of a Nation are the trustees of posterity.”
Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)
Youth are not only a subject for policy development; youth can and must play a key role in the design, elaboration and implementation of Programs, which anchor on their overall development.
Africa’s robust Youth environment and increasing Youth population makes her the most youthful populated continent in the world. According to the United Nations in 2015; 226 million Youths aged 15-24 years lived in Africa, representing nearly 20% of Africa’s population; thus, making up one-fifth of the world’s Youth population. If one includes all people aged below 35 years, this number increases to a staggering three quarters of Africa’s population. African Youths provide huge social, economic and political capital required to drive socio-political and economic development in the continent and are currently striving to become impact creators.
For far too long, the continent of Africa has been perceived by many in the West as a place of conflict, corruption, backwardness, lapse economic growth, human rights abuse, societal ills and above all poor youth participation. This was never an accurate picture, and it certainly doesn’t reflect the economic dynamism and social change taking place in Africa today. With seven of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world, Africa’s growth is being driven by her Youths, who are brimming with talent and energy.
The emerging global and regional consensus on Youth development clearly underscores the need for Youth to be empowered to take their place as national assets. The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they – at some distant point in the future – will take over the reins. Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely, because of the dire need for the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down on current difficulties and challenges. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.
Since inception and for over a decade of work in Africa, AfriGrowth Foundation has pursued a positive approach to Youth development that applies holistic strategies to the complex set of youth needs. This approach recognizes the dire need to develop their skills, values and the required requisites for self-actualization. Consequently, the Foundation’s youth-focused programs have been tailored and customized towards building the capacity of young people towards initiating a paradigm shift to position youth as active change agents that can utilize their energy, idealism, and insights to build a progressive society. The Foundation’s programs use ‘mentoring’ as the main vehicle of empowering young people. The Foundation believes that investing in Youths will culminate in placing them on a better pedestal to impact Africa and the world at large.
In 2018, AfriGrowth Foundation took a giant stride in strengthening its approach to Youth development, as it convened the Repositioning Nigerian Youth Summit, which served as a national consortium in which 195 Youth Leaders converged with the intent of sensitizing and mobilizing their expertise in the areas that affect their growth and development in the nation. The core thrust of Repositioning Nigerian Youth Summit was to entrench a culture of citizenship, servitude, moral value and patriotism in the 195 Nigerian Youth Leaders, especially as they were tutored on how to channel their individual goals to impact positively in their immediate space of influence, whether in their families, workplaces, societies and communities, via the development of service-learning practices.
The major resolution at the end of the Summit was the unanimous decision to spread the tentacles of this enlightenment campaign anchored on changing the current mindset of Youths and reposition them to take their place as national assets and engines of growth beyond Nigeria to other African countries. This resolution birthed the Illuminate Africa Youth Conference.
Illuminate Africa Youth Conference
Youths are the powerhouse of Africa and the means through which the socio-economic status and leadership in the continent can be enhanced. Youths must be taught the perception that they are the Source of Light that can positive ensure the Africa shines bright in all ramifications.
The Illuminate Africa Youth Conference is projected to be an international consortium in which African Youths: public servants, social workers, humanitarians, community leaders, activists, practitioners, academics, entrepreneurs, policy makers, security agents etc. converge with the intent of developing the requisite skills, values, and attitudes they need to succeed as vibrant and vision driven assets in building Africa, socially, economically and politically. The Conference will create a new generation of hyper-productive and self-sustaining Youths able to contribute to the growth and development of Africa.
The first edition of the Conference with the theme- African Youth, Taking the Lead and Initiating the Paradigm Shift will explore the role of youth as nation-builders, illustrating their unique power and potential to positively impact Africa through enterprise driven growth, liberty centered development, effective leadership, good governance and socioeconomic transformation.
The Illuminate Africa Youth Conference will facilitate an exchange of ideas across an ethnically diverse and socially responsible group of young international leaders. Their interaction provokes communication and dialogue, which will provide an unparalleled learning experience and cross-cultural adventure.
This Conference is founded on the belief that a pan-African approach is required to catalyze growth and development in Africa. African Youths must understand and collaborate with their peers across the continent to remove barriers to trade, end conflict, and stimulate widespread positive change.
The goal of the Conference is to provide an open and inclusive platform for African Youths to dialogue and address pertinent issues affecting their participation and engagement in developing the Continent. The approach also recognizes that African Youths are not problems to be solved, but problem solvers themselves. This paradigm emphasizes that Youths are assets to the continent and active agents of change who can contribute their energy, idealism, and insights to a nation’s growth and progress. They are not merely passive recipients of programs and support.
AfriGrowth Foundation will convene the maiden edition of this conference in Nigeria, with the subsequent ones possibly in Ghana and Kenya.
Youths as leaders can be agents of positive change. In every situation in every country, in every context, there are people who act as catalysts who change the status quo. In the maiden edition of the Conference 200 Youth Leaders from the following countries will be invited to participate in this maiden edition:
- Sierra Leone
Program Goal and Objectives
The core goal of the Illuminate Africa Youth Conference is sharing experiences and views across the African continent; learning from best practices and formulating avenues for strengthened cooperation on matters of Youth empowerment, participation and development, with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship, enterprise development, good governance, patriotism, gender equality, governance and transformative leadership.
The Objectives of the Illuminate Africa Youth Conference include:
- To establish a recognized international forum for dialogue between 200 African Youth Leaders that will serve as a platform for discourse on common interests, growth and development.
- To discuss diverse national youth policies from a multi-stakeholder view and proffer veritable recommendations, which will ensure effective youth participation and engagement.
- To create an interactive session between Youths from different part of the continent in order to bolster youth participation toward the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
- To develop an online portal and community through which African Youth Leaders can share information and experiences about their issues across the continent, in the view of fostering viable solutions to these problems.
- To foster the exchange of ideas and experience, mutual understanding, and equal rights and opportunities among African Youths.
Date: August 20, 2020
Target Beneficiaries: The Conference will be attended by 200 African Youth Leaders from the 10 target countries.
The Conference Features
The Conference is envisaged to have core features, which include:
- Paper Presentations
- Panel Discussions
- Break-out and Strategic sessions
- Meet and Greet Networking
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