So far, 28 African countries including Namibia which joined in May 2022, form part of YouthConnekt Africa.
OTJIWARONGO, Namibia — The Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), officially launched the YouthConnekt Namibia initiative on 21 September 2022.
YouthConnekt Africa is a Pan-African program established by the African Union to co-design and expedite suitable solutions for youth socio-economic development, as well as to support intergovernmental knowledge exchange on policy, initiatives, and collaborations.
Operationalised in 2020, the YouthConnekt Africa hub aims to contribute to the achievement of Africa’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mandate, the AU 2063 agenda and the AU Youth Charter.
Through national YouthConnekt initiatives, the hub accomplishes its mandate by coordinating a global network to create a continental ecosystem for African youth; sharing experience and knowledge on programme and policy design, youth initiatives and providing a conduit for resources at scale and data on youth empowerment initiatives.
The Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Hon. Emma Kantema-Gaomas said YouthConnekt Namibia aims to involve Namibian youth in the YouthConnekt Africa Hub, where they will be expected to share ideas, submit business initiatives and acquire technical development skills.
“Our mandate as a ministry is focused towards the promotion of youth empowerment initiatives as expounded in our third national youth policy. It is, therefore, our duty to ensure that we join hands with development partners and other progressive organisations in the development of youth,” said Hon. Kantema-Gaomas during the launch.
She added that there is an urgent need for youth participation at the top end of the country’s economy, hence, the government has put together a variety of policy interventions designed to bring youth into the mainstream of the economy in order to improve inclusion and cohesion.
“Africa's most valuable resource is its youth, and Namibia is no exception, with youth constituting the majority of the population,” she stated.
Loide Amkongo, UNFPA Namibia Assistant Representative and Officer in Charge urged youth to read more to keep abreast with developments and opportunities. “Read, Reach and participate,” she advised the youth during a panel discussion on how Namibian youth can prepare themselves to fully benefit from the YouthConnekt.
“Finally Namibia has officially become part of YouthConnect Africa. We have started to connect with youth from all over Namibia and I cannot wait to connect with youth from the rest of the continent. I want to thank our government for this wonderful initiative, bringing youth together for problem-solving, promoting youth engagement, and empowering the youth,” said Valmary Jantjie, a youth from! Kharas region.
Riaan Siyama, a youth from the Zambezi region also looked forward to connecting with fellow youth and hearing their thoughts and ideas, especially on how to end gender-based violence (GBV) in the country. Siyama is a co-founder of Building Every Opportunity for Change, a civil society organisation that works with men to prevent GBV in Zambezi region.
“Without concerted efforts to address GBV and other forms of gender injustices, the lives of women and girls in the country remain at risk."
"I’m very thankful that we have been accorded the opportunity to be part of the YouthConnekt Namibia launch where we can showcase our work as well as collaborate with other youth around the country and make it effective for us to combat these social illnesses in our country,” he added.
The fifth YouthConnekt Africa Summit took place in Kigali, Rwanda in October this year, where hundreds of young people from the member states of YouthConnekt Africa gathered to share experiences, knowledge, and skills. Some of the members of YouthConnekt Namibia attended the summit in Kigali.