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Acting senior director of the Commonwealth’s economic, youth and sustainable development directorate, Pamela McLaren, speaking at the meeting

Speaker at the Commonwealth Senior Youth Officials Meeting

Month-long special effort to help young people in Africa

4 November 2019

African countries will spend this month giving special impetus to improving the lives of millions of young people.

Beginning with Africa Youth Day on 1st November, the African Union member states, including the 19 Commonwealth countries, will focus on providing opportunities for young people in the areas of Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship and Engagement, known as the 4Es.

Education will be the theme of the first week, followed by Employment then Entrepreneurship and ending with Engagement.

Pamela McLaren, acting senior director of the Commonwealth’s economic, youth and sustainable development directorate, said: ”Young people are at the very heart of Africa’s development agenda.

"With over 75 per cent of Africa’s 1.2 billion inhabitants under the age of 35, and 453 million Africans aged 15-35, it goes without saying that the development outcomes of Africa’s young people have a significant and lasting effect on the continent’s trajectory.

"The challenges Africa face in education, employment, health, and governance are most acutely felt by Africa’s youth.

“African governments have signalled their intent to moving beyond aid to scale up its own policies and home grown solutions that spur democracy and create the enabling environment to build prosperity in Africa through concrete priorities such as job creation, regional integration, and economic engagement."

Africa Youth Day began in 2006, adopted under the African Youth Charter.

Ekow Eshun, a Director at Ghana’s National Youth Authority, said: “There’s an urgent need to add value to every young person to realise their potential. That’s why coming together under the umbrella of the Commonwealth is more important than ever before."

Africa Youth Day was marked in Accra in the margins of a meeting of Commonwealth Senior Youth Officials from African countries.

 Read the Chair's Summary of the Commonwealth Youth Senior Officials Meeting (Africa Region)

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