Her Excellency took the opportunity to share valuable knowledge with the young
people that are taking part in this year’s program. She described their experience as a great privilege to contribute to the work of the AU and further stated that she is looking forward to exposing them to work skills benefiting from the competences of
those who would be assigned to her Office.
The future of Africa took centre stage in her address, revealing the AU’s position and vision for young people. In relation to Agenda 2063, the Chairperson stated,
‘we consider that the people who are going to drive Agenda 2063, those who will develop this continent to be prosperous, integrated and peaceful are young people along with women. You are part of that youth!’ As the Chairperson engaged the young people, she constantly reminded them to never stop believing in their abilities and never losing hope in the African continent and its people. In her own words, ‘this is the first step to Pan-Africanism’.
The Chairperson concluded her speech to young people by offering advice on the
importance of time management, passion for work, maintaining vibrancy and creating bigger opportunities for the next generation than those that were created for
In a true display of encouraging youth participation, Her Excellency, with the assistance
of University of Johannesburg’s Vice Chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, opened up the floor for young people to pose questions. Her answers revealed her journey from Cabinet Minister in South Africa to the AUC, plans to include vocational college graduates into the AU-YVC program, the need to quantify the work that women contribute to economies and the support structures that have enhanced her career.
The open session also gave AU-YVC training participant Heba Shama the opportunity to share her story. The young Egyptian shared her journey of discovery in identifying, appreciating and understanding her own Africanness, which began whilst she was studying in the USA. She further praised the AUYVC program for the work it is doing in helping her solidify her identify.
Addressing the audience before Her Excellency took to the podium, Acting Head of the Youth Division within the AUC, Dr Beatrice Njenga, gave insight into the program. She described the AU-YVC as a flagship programme which aims to instil the spirit Pan-Africanism, volunteerism, leadership, life skills, personal initiative, creativity and collective responsibility in young people across the continent and in the diaspora.
This year’s Batch of 80 participants (65% female and 35% male) from 37 AU Member States was selected out of 5000 applicants.
In relation to the higher percentage of females, Dr Njenga stated, ‘we are pleased to have more females in this year’s Batch as 2015 is the AU’s Year for Women Empowerment’. The training will conclude on the 19th of December 2015 and a majority of the participants will be deployed to different organisations in Member States across Africa including the AU
Headquarters in Addis Ababa.
The programme is currently supported by AU Member States and Ford Foundation. The training in Johannesburg is hosted by the University of Johannesburg and supported by the AU Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation among others.