Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Amina Mohamed, who is a candidate for the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), accompanied by Mrs. Sicily Kariuki, Kenya’s Minister for Youth and Gender Affairs met on Monday with youth from various African countries in Addis Ababa.
The meeting took place during the 9th African Union Gender Pre-Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme: _”Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investments in Youth: Empowering Young People, Especially Young Women, For Leadership and Civic Participation.”_ This event marked the beginning of the 28th AU Summit.
Amb. Amina’s Vision for the AUC has centered the role of the youth in Africa’s development. In her new year’s letter to Africans, she wrote: “In sum, our youth are our currency. This century is theirs and Africa’s! To harness their potential, we must collaborate both politically and economically. We must work in partnership and integrate
in a manner that catalyses Africa’s synergy and diversity.”
Amb. Amina highlighted the need to listen to the needs, challenges and solutions proposed by the youth. She expressed concern that youth engagement has often taken an “address approach” as opposed to a “dialogic approach.” She stated that it was critical to recognise that Africa’s youth, in this age, are the most educated, most exposed, most informed, most innovative and proactive. As a result, the promise of their potential can only be realised through consistent and sustainable partnership and joint decision-making with the youth.
Amb. Amina is known as a strong advocate for youth inclusion not only in support roles but mainstream decision-making. Her Ministry is a testament of her ‘youth engagement’ approach-evident in the composition of officers and the structure of the internship programs within the Ministry. Amb. Amina has also engaged the youth in various countries across the continent during the course of her campaign.