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Group Tasks African Nations on Youth Empowerment

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Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), a pan-African social enterprise working to advance digital rights and inclusion in Africa, has commemorated this year’s International Youth Day with a call on governments across the continent to provide youths with equal opportunities for education and employment.

The 2020 International Youth Day is being commemorated under the theme, “Youth Engagement for Global Action”.  The day was endorsed in 1999 by the General Assembly after a recommendation by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth.

PIN said this year’s event comes at a time when the world is battling against the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects are adverse on vulnerable youth such as refugees, those in rural areas, migrants and more so, youth in the informal sector who live from hand to mouth due to high levels of unemployment in many African countries.

The group noted that protecting and mobilizing youth in COVID-19 response, according to the UN/DESA Policy Brief #67, young people are particularly vulnerable to the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

With many African countries on lockdown guidelines in response to the pandemic, the group added, it is imperative to come up with policies to ensure that social safety nets are afforded to youths, guarantee their access to improved livelihoods and to be able to actively engage in any global action.

“As we reflect  on the reality that globally in 2020, more than one in five (22.4 per cent) young people aged 15–24 are neither in employment, education or training (NEET), we must provide youths with equal opportunities for education and employment”, the group added.

PIN also reaffirmed its commitment to youth empowerment through various initiatives that aimed at improving their lives.

“We stand committed to empowering young people with skills that capacitate them to serve their communities and to improve their livelihoods”, they further explained. 

Through the PIN Life Skills, ICTs, Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship (LIFE) training program, many youths are being empowered to access digital platforms that enhance their prospects of employment and starting businesses.

This empowerment, according to the group, equally capacitates them to receive information and to be able to participate in national processes and beyond.

“As we pay tribute to the youths in our communities, we urge African States to continue to take strides to ensure the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 which urges States in part 4 to increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship in ensuring  inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all .

“We encourage States to ensure that youth have access to the internet in keeping with  Principle 37(2) of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights Declaration Of Principles On Freedom Of Expression And Access To Information”, the group stressed.

PIN also observed that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights equally provides that States shall recognise that universal, equitable, affordable and meaningful access to the internet is necessary for the realisation of freedom of expression, access to information and the exercise of other human rights.

The group further explained that Internet access provides a platform for the enjoyment of human rights, adding that providing youths with internet access is critical more so now during the pandemic.


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