All Africa Youth Congress participants

Photo: Esther Makumi/AACC

“It shows us the reality of Africa and what we can do for a better future for our mother continent. For me, It was an inspiring theme and it renewed my pride as an African,” he added.

Over a thousand young people from 44 African countries gathered in Accra, Ghana, to discuss ways of inspiring young people to realize their full potential and contribute to the continent's sustainable development during the All Africa Youth Congress held from 31 October to 5 November.

The general secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches, Rev. Dr Fidon Mwombeki, urged young people across the continent to join hands to achieve the goals of Agenda 2063, which aims to make Africa a peaceful and prosperous region.

Agenda 2063 is a framework that aims to achieve sustainable development across Africa over a period of 50 years.

According to him, young people across the continent should commit to working and fighting for a peaceful Africa that is anchored on the rules of law and democracy. They should also reject the unconstitutional transfer of power and participate in political positions in their own countries.

While talking to some young people who participated in the event, Simbarashe Hunzvi, from Zimbabwe, spoke about the themes of the congress. He shared that, “Justice and security is a theme for the congress that speaks to the lived realities of most of us because of the growing conflict,  socio-economic meltdowns,  corruption, and lack of accountability. Having justice prevail and security upheld will ultimately mean that Africans can not only co-exist but progress.”

The All Africa Youth Congress encouraged young people to use their God-given gifts, talents, and resources in making Africa a home, not as strangers but as natives. In addition, it emphasized the stability of Africa, security, and the need for Africans to work in unison towards better governance in our countries to secure the African fruitful future. The resolution was not only for the current generation but for generations to come,” reflected Esther Nyatuga Makumi from Kenya.

She further added that young people should be encouraged to be bold and strong enough to report and expose all sorts of violence and injustice prevailing in the continent and be aware of current issues, and push for the interests of the youth at all levels of government.

Talking about some of the challenges for young people, Esther commented that mental health issues as a result of unemployment, pressure from peers to perform, social media, and the use of drugs and substances have led to untimely deaths of youth. She also mentioned that youth are in the majority yet their involvement in governance and decision-making is not sufficient and they have been ignored.

According to Brenda Berriliy Lukong from Cameroon, the All Africa Youth Congress provided a platform for purposeful collaborations between African youth, uplifting them to be patriotic while also utilizing their talents in the evolution of Africa.

“This congress has elevated youth appreciation of their potential and opportunities. It is also a chance for African youth, for us to interact, debate, champion, develop ideas, empower, celebrate, love, and pray together for better days and opportunities in a way that involves us. We need this push and this platform to keep us unified and asking more questions about our leadership and Africa's future. It is significant as it reminds me that I am a young person and a leader of today, not tomorrow. This is the future, and how I live in it and contribute to the development of my community is entirely my responsibility,” she said.

There is growing dissatisfaction among African youth about their lack of opportunities and rising corruption. Due to this, many people are moving to developed countries where they believe they have better opportunities.

Despite the various challenges that face African youth, the continent is still becoming a center for innovation and entrepreneurship. This is because many people are willing to take on new roles and contribute to the development of the country.

“Despite the significant obstacles the continent faces, young people are discovering ways to make a positive contribution. Through these programs, young people not only learn new skills and develop their existing ones, but they also significantly improve both their communities and themselves,” said Lukong.