African economic conference highlights youth's role in Africa's development aspiration

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-05 22:29:25|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Experts and policymakers attending the African Economic Conference (AEC-2019) on Thursday expressed their resolve to leave no youth behind in Africa's economic development aspiration.

The joint commitment was made by organizers of this year's edition of the continental economic conference that are the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The tripartite development-focused organizations reaffirmed their commitment to engage Africa's youth as an integral part of the continent's development initiatives.

"We must stop assuming that we can solve their problems in their absence," said Adam Elhiraika, Director of Macroeconomics and Governance Division at the ECA as the three-day African Economic Conference concluded.

"They have made us understand over the past three days that all they want is to be part of the decisions that affect their daily lives," the ECA director stressed, adding that "we must, therefore, put them at the centre of every development policy at both national and regional levels."

Angela Lusigi, Africa Strategic Advisor at the UNDP, also stressed that the continental economic development-themed gathering has contributed to "a new understanding of Africa's youth in the context of Africa's present and bright future as our long-awaited disrupters and innovators."

According to Lusigi, the UN Development Programme is "committed to connecting and up-scaling our interventions towards creating the 100 million jobs needed" across the continent.

The AEC is jointly organized by the UN-ECA, AfDB, and the UNDP every year with an aim to discuss pertinent issues affecting the continent, in which discussions at AEC-2019 focused under the theme "Jobs, Entrepreneurship and Capacity Development for African Youths."

This year's edition of the conference also featured a session for young African researchers to share their work and be the key proponents in shaping the future of the continent.

AfDB's Director for Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research, Hanan Morsy, also stressed that "there is nothing more important for our continent's policymakers than the subject of jobs for our youth."

"Africa's jobs problem cannot be solved by any single entity, but that there was need for concerted efforts amongst nations, development partners, public and private sectors, researchers, and other stakeholders," Morsy stressed.

The UN-ECA, in a press statement issued on Thursday, also underscored that it remains supportive of "productive collaborations, such as the African Economic Conference, where discussions and recommendations can sustainably uplift member states and youths in particular."

The ECA also urged Africa's youth population to contribute to the continental integration agenda, emphasizing that "creating a united Africa is the most important step towards creating greater opportunities for all Africans."

The three-day African Economic Conference -- which also featured the launching of the joint Africa Sustainable Development Report 2019 by the AfDB, ECA, and UNDP, as well as the ECA's Economic Report on Africa 2019 -- also called on African policymakers to take bold steps to tackle red-tape and high startup costs in order to create decent and well-paying jobs for the continent's youth.