The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat has called for more partnerships to support youth development in Africa.

He made this statement ahead of the 35th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in a virtual event that showcased the results of the 1 Million by 2021 initiative.

Launched in 2019, the initiative sought to provide direct opportunities for African youth in the areas of Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Engagement (the 4Es). 

Speaking at the launch, he indicated that, despite the disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, joint efforts with; young people in the driving seat as implementers, enthusiastic, and the collaborative support of partners across the 4Es were what ensured the 1 million by 2021 initiative was a success.

H.E Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chair of the African Union sent a video message where he spoke about the 4E’s being in line with the strategic vision of his tenure at the helm of the African Union, he explained that they contributed to promoting the development of African human capital for an emerging Africa.

H.E. President Tshilombo congratulated the Chairperson of the AUC on the resounding success of the 1 Million by 2021 Initiative while calling for strategic links between youth, Member States, and partners to be strengthened.

The Deputy Chairperson who was also in attendance, H.E. Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, noted that the initiative responded to fundamental questions on new approaches to solving existing problems targeted towards African realities.

“It is my hope that with this success we will all be galvanized into taking even bigger actions, and be pushed towards even more fruitful collaborations as we all work towards achieving Aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063,” she said.

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Presenting the results of the 1 Million by 2021 initiative, the Acting Director of Women, Gender and Youth Directorate, Ms. Prudence Ngwenya, shared with partners and youth in attendance that the initiative was able to reach over 8 million young people across Africa through the initiative.

She also highlighted that key lessons learned from the initiative was that more member state should be engaged, the program should be agile and adaptive to respond to the ever-changing landscape, more institutional strengthening, sustained partner engagement, and more youth engagement are also crucial to advancing the youth agenda.
 
Partners in attendance conveyed their congratulations to the Commission and indicated that the successes of the 1 Million by 2021 initiative proved that targeted investments were the key to building the Africa we want.

They all recommitted their support to build on the gains of the initiative to ensure no young person is left behind.
 
Speakers at the high-level session included;   

Dr. Muthoni Wanyeki, Regional Director for Africa, Open Society Foundations (OSF),
 
Dr. Kevin Frey, Chief Executive Officer Generation Unlimited (GenU),

Mrs. Ahunna Eziakonwa, UNDP Assistant Administrator and UNDP Regional Director for Africa,  

Dr. Inge Baumgarten – Director, GIZ Office to the AU,  

H.E Mme Bineta Diop – Special Envoy, Women Peace, and Security,   

Ms. Chido Cleopatra Mpemba – AUC Chairperson Youth Envoy

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