Dakar set to host regional meeting on the youth

Preparations are underway for the 18th Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa to be held in Dakar, Senegal, from 25-26 March 2017 under the theme; “UN System Support to Harnessing Demographic Dividend Through Investments in the Youth.”

The theme will allow high-level participants, including the UN Deputy Secretary General, to discuss Africa’s significant asset, the youth, and how they can be harnessed for sustainable growth.

The growing extent of youth unemployment poses a fundamental challenge for the whole of Africa. In total, around 60 percent of the unemployed are under the age of 25 and young women are especially affected.

Studies indicate that Africa will account for 3.2 billion of the projected 4 billion increase in the global population by 2100. The same studies also point to Africa’s working age population, particularly the youth, rising by 2.1 billion over the period, compared to a net global increase of 2 billion.

“This meeting presents an opportunity for the United Nations system and the African Union to dialogue on ways of advancing Africa’s development  agenda,” says Economic Commission for Africa’s Acting Executive Secretary,  Abdalla Hamdok.

He adds active collaboration will help sharpen the continent’s focus on  strategies to speed up the demographic transition, and create conducive  conditions for harnessing the demographic dividend, including the  development of frameworks for increased active and productive participation of the youth in economic activities.

Participants will also deliberate on strategies for strengthening the collaboration between all the partners involved in RCM-Africa.  The meeting, which will be held back to back with the joint Annual  Ministerial Conference of the ECA and the African Union Commission (AUC),  also being held in Dakar from 23-28 March 2017 on the theme, “Growth,  inequality and unemployment”, will also discuss the implementation of the  renewed framework of United Nations-African Union Partnership on Africa’s Integration and Development Agenda (PAIDA).

Also under discussion would be the work programme of the RCM-Africa for 2017 and 2018, ensuring that new clusters are appropriately aligned to support the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The alignment of the RCM-Africa to the Ministerial Conference allows the UN Deputy Secretary General, who is also the co-Chair of RCM-Africa, and senior UN officials to engage directly with ministers responsible for finance, planning and economic development on pertinent issues related to Africa’s development agenda.

Participants will include heads and senior officials of organizations and agencies of the UN system working in support of the AU, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund; AU Commission, African Development Bank, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, African Peer Review Mechanism Secretariat and other regional economic communities.