The GAIN Youth Summit 2020 by Grand Africa Initiative (GAIN) held virtually on October 30th and 31st, 2020 and attracted participants not only from across the African continent but across the world.
The summit had over 2,000 registered participants from over 70 countries across 6 continents. Contents of the summit on various social media platform reached about 500,000 people according to impressions.
Some of the key partners of the GAIN Youth Summit includes: AUDA-NEPAD Agency, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), The Global Union and its Permanent Mission, African Development Bank, Tysys Capital Group, African Independent Television(AIT) among others.
The summit discussions were categorised into employment stage, student stage, entrepreneurship and action stages and focused on unemployment crises in Africa, highlighting the issues and solutions, job creation blueprint, employment opportunities and actionable points by all stakeholders to create more jobs and reduce the negative impact of the menace of unemployment in the African economies.
The Keynote Speaker, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo spoke on the theme –Curbing youth unemployment crises in Africa: The real issues.
He identified the key challenges of employability in Africa to include the declining quality of education, outdated academic curriculum, the current economic structure of Africa and mismatch of supply of skills.
He stated that every African government needs to focus on branding their people and positioning their countries for global opportunities, open up their internal borders for free movement of goods and services and evaluate governments based on the number of non-government jobs created.
Prof. Soludo urged the youth to take their own destinies in their own hands. “Ask, what can I do to make a difference? Do something! Volunteer! Necessity is the mother of inventions. Don’t stay in a corner complaining. For meaningful development of Africa, we must think of what the individual, community, civil society and private sector can do and yes, the government, can contribute towards the development agenda of Africa”, he said.
He urged the governments to design incentives to drive youth entrepreneurship, showcase, celebrate and reward young entrepreneurs.
Commenting on the mismatch between the educational curriculum and the skills required at the workplace, he emphasized the need for a responsive educational system with a up to date curriculum to produce a labour force that is productive at home and exportable abroad. Every African leader must realize that Africa is well positioned to be the potential supplier of more of the labour force in the world, in the later part of the 21st century and even more, in the 22nd century.
Panel discussions at the summit highlighted the job opportunities available in various sectors on the economy and what the youths need to do access such opportunities.
The Vice Chancellor of the Catholic University of Zimbabwe, Professor Ranga Zinyemba, encouraged the youth to adopt the mindset of continuous learning because things change so fast and digital skills provide less fortunate people with opportunities to break out of poverty.
Discussions on the second day of the summit focused on entrepreneurship, enabling business environment, financing, angel investing, policies and more.
The National Coordinator for International Trade Centre (ITC), Ms Terfa Ashwe , advocates that making inclusive policies for small businesses to thrive, requires an understanding of the locality, industry and sectors of the businesses; understanding of the stages of the business, capability, knowledge and skills of the founders.
Tackling unemployment in Africa requires a collective effort of both the private and public sectors. To promote prosperity, we need to learn to patronise locally produced goods and services. We need to buy made in African products. We also need to support the vulnerable groups, youth and women, said Mr. Escipión Joaquín OLIVEIRA GÓMEZ, the Assistance Secretary General for Structural Economic Transformation and Trade (SETT) , OACPS.
Speaking on cross border promotion and partnerships, Her Excellency, Mrs Teneng M. Jaiteh, The Ambassador of The Gambia to the EU speaking at the summit stated that “Africa needs to strengthen its cross-border partnerships and opportunities to prosper. Africa needs to look inwards, open her internal borders to create new opportunities for trade and technological development and innovation for her teeming young population. Opening our borders would unlock rich potentials for our continent, for decent jobs, for knowledge sharing, for innovation and growth. Young people need to be part of the decision-making process. Their voices need to be taken on board during policy development level and at the national implementation”.
His Excellency, F. Houmard emphasised that for effective cross border partnerships, people need to embrace diversity and relate with people irrespective of their cultural, political, social and religious differences.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Executive Director, Grand Africa Initiative (GAIN), Ms. Chinwe Okoli, pointed out that GAIN Youth Summit is a platform for the youth to connect, discover and grow in their endeavours, contribute to the development of their countries and the continent at large.
She emphasized the importance and timeliness of the summit which came at the time Nigeria and other countries actively seek solutions to curb the rising youth unemployment rates.
“In order to find a lasting solution to the crises of unemployment and other issues affecting the youth, we need Engagement with relevant stakeholders, we need to seat around the table and design concrete solutions of great impact, we need to be part of the discussion for the future because we, the youth are the future of this continent. This is the rationale for the GAIN Youth Summit 2020” she said
The summit was concluded with actionable and concrete points for further engagement with relevant stakeholders. Grand Africa Initiative (GAIN) is committed to promoting youth empowerment for development by helping African youths, develop and unleash their potentials, unique ideas, talents and abilities to succeed in education, employment, entrepreneurship, and innovation through a unique Gather, Empower, Mentor and Monitor (GEMM) strategy.