President of the Republic of Chad and rotating African Union chairperson Idriss Deby speaks at the opening ceremony of the 28th African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 30, 2017. The 28th AU Summit held under the theme "Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth" opened on Monday at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. (Xinhua/Li Baishun)
ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) will appoint a special envoy this year to mobilize and advocate for the youth, said the AU Commission chairperson.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma made the remarks on Monday during the opening of the 28th AU summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
Dlamini-Zuma called for more jobs by involving the young people in Africa to unlock their full potential, which she said is economically prudent and a democratic imperative.
The 28th AU summit is held from Jan. 30 to 31 under the theme "Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the youth."
The African continent has 200 million young men and women aged between 15 and 24, and by 2025, a quarter of the world's youth will be African, said the chairperson.
"As the rest of the world ages, Africa will remain a young continent. This is the comparative advantage we have, which must be translated into a demographic dividend," she said.
"To harness this resource, we must firstly provide all Africa's boys, girls and young people with opportunities to be in school, complete secondary education, have access to vocational training and universities, and to expand their knowledge of science, mathematics, engineering and technology," she said.
The chairperson also underlined the need to address youth unemployment on the continent by creating jobs and economic opportunities for young people through economic diversification, agriculture modernization, and agro-processing.
"Since 60 percent of the unemployed are young, with their unemployment rate doubling that of adults, we must resolve to decisively tackle youth unemployment," she said.
In this regard, Dlamini-Zuma hailed the African Development Bank strategy for jobs for youth in Africa 2016-2025, which aims to create 25 million jobs and impact 50 million youth.
The bank estimates that reducing Africa's youth unemployment rate could translate to a 10-percent to 20-percent increase in the continent's GDP, according to the chairperson.