Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states are committed to promoting youth empowerment through ongoing regional programmes as the youth in the Region play an active role in the implementation of regional policies and activities through their established structures, the bloc’s Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax, has said.
Dr Tax said this during a courtesy call by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) senior advisor for partnerships and resource mobilisation under the Generation Unlimited (GenU) movement, Ms Nadi Albino, on July 2.
The courtesy call, facilitated by the Office of the President for the Republic of Botswana where SADC is headquartered, saw the two discuss collaborative initiatives to empower young people to become productive and engaged members of society. Under the overall co-ordination of UNICEF, GenU is a global multi-sector partnership to meet the urgent need for expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people aged 10 to 24 years.
Dr Tax said the region’s established programmes on skills development, employment and youth empowerment, which promote realisation of the demographic dividend, were closely aligned to GenU objectives. She welcomed the appointment of President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, as a GenU Champion in SADC, and expressed confidence that this would unlock new empowerment opportunities for young people in that country and region at large.
She underscored the need to ensure synergy and complementarity among key actors, notably the youth themselves, in addressing the many challenges they faced and ensuring their full contribution to the socio-economic development agenda.
Ms Albino informed Dr Tax that GenU was mandated by UNICEF to bring together the private sector, governments, multilateral organisations, civil society, and young people through mutual and cordial engagements in finding lasting solutions to challenges faced by millions of youths.
She outlined the work conducted by GenU to modernise education and training and foster job preparation through apprenticeship, mentorship and entrepreneurship; to increase work and livelihood opportunities available to youth; and to engage youth as change makers.
Ms Albino said the private sector and young people were key players in these initiatives, expressing optimism that partnership with SADC would go a long way in creating an enabling environment for the GenU initiative.
The parties acknowledged and underscored that young people in the SADC region and globally represented enormous opportunities to transform economic and social outcomes, thus it was critical to invest in young people with a view to enhance productivity and standards of living at regional, continental and global levels.
They committed to co-operate in implementation of responsive interventions to address challenges facing youths in SADC. – SADC