Executive Director, Emmanuel Edudzie, joined a panel discussion on ‘The Situation of Adolescents and Youth in West and Central Africa’ at the recent African Youth SDGs Summit held in Accra. With over a thousand participants, the Summit provided a platform to galvanise continental youth action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The panel discussion was hosted by UNFPA’s regional office based in Dakar and focused on key findings from a soon-to-be-published report by the agency on youth in the region. The report gives detailed data and narrative analysis of the sexual and reproductive health, education,employment, social protection, gender issues, and emergency challenges that young people face in the region. It is meant to guide policy makers, programme implementers, young people and other key stakeholders to develop multi-sectoral policies and programmes that respond to the needs of young people.
Speaking as a representative of youth practitioners,the Executive Director noted that the large youth cohort in West and Central Africa represents a historic opportunity to introduce progress and adopt innovative solutions to ignite change. He said that the SDGs present a blueprint for the ways we can collectively take action to improve the lives of millions of people all around the world. Putting youth at the center of development priorities is critical, he added. The Executive Director further stated Youth Empowerment Synergy supports putting young people first is the surest way to harness the demographic dividend, build resilience and transform the continent to achieve the SDGs and the Africa we want. He concluded that, to achieve the SDGs, a fundamental shift is needed – to empower young people by giving them the tools to become even more influential and productive actors in their societies.
Other panellists include Anandita Philipose from UNFPA(Senegal), Shamwil Hassan from AfriYAN (Nigeria), Welma Sampson from the Liberian government, and Edith Asamani from AfriYAN (Ghana).