The African Union Commission (AUC) member states have been urged to work in unison in order to empower the continent’s youth.
AUC chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said joint efforts would ensure that the region invested fully in sustainable development.
“Young people in Africa need to be an integral part of the continent’s social and economic development,“ she said in a press statement.
Her message reinforces this year’s theme for the 7th African Youth Day.
“Africa must deliver as one to empower African youth for sustainable development."
At a recent assembly of African heads of state and government, it was decided that member states would work to reduce the youth unemployment rate by 2 per cent.
The African Economic Outlook 2012 report released last month, predicts an economic growth of 4.5 per cent by the end of the year and a further 4.8 per cent growth in 2013.
The report, jointly produced by the Africa Development Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and UNDP, notes that 60 per cent of the continent’s unemployed are aged between 15 and 24 years, with the number of youth expected to double by 2045.
The World Bank projects that by 2015, the youth population in sub-Saharan Africa would be well over 75 per cent.
Dr Dlamini-Zuma explained that the population dynamic must be used as strength for the continent, adding that countries needed to make the right investments in youth.
“To deliver as one on youth development and empowerment, member states, that yet need to do so, must expedite their efforts to sign, ratify, domesticate and implement the African Youth Charter,” she said.
The commission’s chairperson also called on the youth to participate in decision making by working with their leaders at national, regional and continental levels.