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African leaders urged to back youth fund

Sunday, 17th July 2016
Francine Muyumba, the president of the Pan-African Youth Union speaking at the opening of the AU Assembly

The Pan-African Youth Union has called on African governments to support the establishment of Africa Youth Fund.

Francine Muyumba, the president of the Pan-African Youth Union, said the fund would be vital in not only addressing the pertinent issue of unemployment on the continent, but also address associated issues which would lead to insecurity.

Muyumba made the remarks while addressing the African Heads of State and Government, at the opening of 27th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, in Kigali.

"The Youth Fund will serve to invest in the projects that will transform African youth and bring sustainable development. Investing in the youth is investing in the future of our continent,"

Muyumba explained that the fund will be for skills capacity building, through offering small school bursaries, financing research and funding the establishment of youth entrepreneurship projects.

The first ten-year implementation of the African Union's Agenda 2063 plan aims to reduce the overall unemployment across the continent by 25 per cent, with a specific target of reduction of 2 per cent per year in unemployment rate of women and youth to be achieved every year through 2023.

While marking World Youth Skills Day, on July 15, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on world leaders to address the issues of youth unemployment, noting that, "When we do, they (youth) can better advance the broader mission of the United Nations for lasting peace, sustainable development and human rights for all."

The coordinator of the Executive Committee of the National Youth Council, Clarisse Uwanyirigira, said the proposed Youth Fund would be vital in addressing the issues of access to finance, especially for the youth who seek to pursue the entrepreneurship path.

"Access to finance is surely one of the biggest problems facing the youth. With the establishment of Youth Fund, we will be certain that at least a big percentage of youth will have access to finance, create business and employ fellow youth, consequently reducing the unemployment rate in Africa," Uwanyirigira said. 

She further revealed that the 2017 African Union agenda would focus on youth.