The Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) Dr. Frannie Léautier has said that Capacity Development is vital for unlocking the potential of Africa’s youth. She presented the Foundation’s perspective on youth unemployment in Africa during the themed debate on “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development” at the Seventeenth Ordinary Session of African Union Assembly in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Dr. Frannie said that with over 40% of the population below 15 years, Africa is by far the continent with the largest global youthful population. 60% of Africa’s population is below 24 years. If managed well, this demographic represents Africa’s best development asset over the coming decades. She called for better understanding of needs of Africa’s youth, opportunities provided by their ideas, and sources of innovation and employment at the country and regional level, in order to design and implement the right policies aimed at unlocking the creativity and innovativeness of this group.
Leading up to the African Union Assembly Mauritanian Agency for the Promotion of Youth Employment (ANAPEJ), in collaboration with ACBF and the Centre Mauritanien d’Analyse des Politiques (CEMAP), held a workshop on “Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment in North Africa” in Nouakchott, Mauritania from June 13-14, 2011.
The workshop created platform for dialogue and experience-sharing between stakeholders from North African countries (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia), gathered more than 80 participants, notably national youth associations and young entrepreneurs from North Africa, East and West Africa. It was attended by representatives of several international organizations, including NEPAD, World Bank and UNDP.
A major outcome of the workshop is a ‘Nouakchott Declaration’, containing specific youth-related recommendations, to be presented by Mauritania, to the African Union Heads of States in Malabo. The work of the Foundation in preparation for the Summit derives from a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in Kampala, Uganda on July 27, 2010 between African Capacity Building Foundation and African Union Commission (AUC). This MoU provides a framework for partnership between the two institutions.
The partnership between ACBF and the AUC aims to enhance and expand the existing collaborative arrangements between the two organizations and NEPAD, as the AU’s implementing agency for capacity building, with a view to developing the capacity of African countries in the areas of economic policy analysis, policy formulation, policy implementation and the overall management of economic policy for poverty reduction on the continent.The MOU addresses the critical aspects of effective regional integration for the continent’s socio-economic development, enabling the development of collective solutions to cross - cutting issues within Africa and allowing for complementarity between the two organizations, in terms of skills, experience and future developments.
Speaking ahead of her address, Dr Léautier said: “ACBF’s new strategy gives pride of place to emerging issues in African development, and the critical role of capacity development and employment creation for the youth is to strengthen the enabling environment and enhance governance, in order to unlock the potential of the youth, either for self-employment or for their integration into the productive sectors.
Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, NEPAD Agency CEO, highlighted that African governments and development practitioners had found a competent and ready partner in the African Capacity Building Foundation, as Africa’s premier capacity building institution, saying:” Throughout its 20-year history, ACBF has built formidable partnerships with African governments, universities, civil society and other in-country and sub-regional development stakeholders. With it’s an unparalleled African regional coverage and growing African ownership and visibility, we see great scope in this collaboration with ACBF as we continue to address the capacity gaps on the continent.’
ACBF is committed to working with the NEPAD Planning and Co-ordinating Agency to enhance collaboration and streamline capacity development initiatives in Africa. The Foundation has also collected capacity priorities in 45 countries as a follow up to Kigali Resolution, issued by high level delegates who attended ACBF’s 20th Anniversary summit in Kigali, Rwanda. A number of countries have identified capacity development for job creation as a major area of opportunity when setting their national priorities.