The second edition of the Africa’s largest youth gathering – YouthConnekt Africa Summit that recently ended in Kigali, brought together over 2,500 delegates from 90 countries.
Held under the theme “Connekting youth for continental transformation”, the three-day summit attracted representatives from Ministries of Youth, Multilateral Organizations, Social Enterprises, Investors, Young Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Professionals.
In his opening address, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente noted that achieving the ‘Africa We Want’ by 2063 requires holistic transformation and that the role of youth is key.
“About 70% of Africa’s population is under the age of 30. With Africa’s population projected to double by 2050, we are the youngest continent. Therefore, any plan for improving the future of Africa, must factor in the role of young people” the PM Ngirente said.
The Premier also challenged the youth to take ownership of Africa’s transformation journey by properly using their skills, connections and resources.
“My call to all African youth, especially you who are attending this summit, is to rise to the challenge, and take ownership of the journey. Use your skills, networks and resources to build the Africa We Want. Use this summit to double connections with your peers, and learn about what they are doing. Use all your platforms to engage more policy makers in your respective countries” Prime Ngirente said.
The 2018 YouthConnekt Summit also saw the launch of the YouthConnekt Hubs which will serve as conducive platforms for joint action among multiple stakeholders, to focus on the most important issues affecting youth development.
Whereas the YouthConnekt is a Rwandan homegrown solution whose overall mission is to leverage technology to connect youth to their role models and opportunities for civic engagement, social and economic empowerment, it has been adopted in eight countries including Uganda, Liberia, Republic of Congo, DRC, SierraLeone, The Gambia, Zambia and CapeVerde.
“As we witnessed through the many sessions and side conversations, African youth are brilliant, creative and have the will to drive the continent’s transformation. All they need is either a financial push or a full realization of who they truly are.
Speaking to some of the Ugandan delegates, this is what they had to say;
Daisy Nabukhisa, proprietor of Daisy Comfy Carpets said that the summit has been kind of an eye-opener where it awakened her to the potential in her to contribute to the transformation of her community and continent.
“I have learnt a lot but above all is the realization that I am the greatest asset, potential and hope that Africa has and being all that means working hard and doing all it takes to see my Africa growing and developing,” Said Kasiita Mark.
Katongole Sulaiman, team leader of Topowa Uganda said that the conference challenged young Africans to build a united Africa upholding the Ubuntu ideology – free from any form of discrimination – and pushing for a common and bigger market for young Africans to trade and connect freely.
Mbabali Sumayah, said she was more captivated by the “Women Tech Talks” session, which essentially was a platform to inspire girls to venture into technology since she herself is pursuing her degree in software engineering.
Uganda too looks forward to holding such conversations that stir up action points for youths across the continent.