The month of April saw Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), devote a substantial amount of his time engaging with Africa’s youth and young leaders in constructive dialogue, discourse and initiatives on
the continent’s future -‘The Africa We Want’ through the Agency’s execution of Agenda 2063. Dr Mayaki acknowledges that, “Both unemployment and inequality are obstacles to growth.”
In support of unleashing the potential of skills development, technical and vocational education and training (TVET), AUDA-NEPAD is implementing a “Continental TVET Strategy” that provides a comprehensive framework for skills development and youth employment, through the Skills Initiative for Africa. To this end, on 8 April, Dr Mayaki led the Agency’s team at the Launch of the Call for Proposals for Large Skills Development Investment Projects, in Pretoria, South Africa.
During the launch, it was noted that large skills development investment projects proposed by South African national training entities in partnership with companies will benefit from EUR3 million grants through the Skills Initiative for Africa. Successful projects under the first Window will receive a grant of up to EUR3 million, wherein the grantees will be required to make a counterpart contribution of at least 10% of the total project cost.
On 10 April, the AUDA-CEO had an engagement with African youths from different parts of the continent – including Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, at the Agency’s advocacy event called ‘Championing Agenda 2063 for #TheAfricaWeWant,’ held in Johannesburg.
At the event, the Agency announced winners of the #TheAfricaWeWant youth essay contest. Five youth champions for Agenda 2063 were also recognised for their entrepreneurial activities, resilience and resourcefulness. This was followed by a robust dialogue with the young Africans.
Dr Mayaki explained that, "The role of youth in shaping the new power relations in Africa is a precondition for stability on the continent."
One of the clear messages from the youth was that, as NEPAD fully transitions into the Africa Union Development Agency, it should not leave youths behind, but must continue to find spaces for them to engage with policy and programmatic interventions for the continent’s development.
On 29 April, Dr Mayaki travelled to Stellenbosch, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa to hold a discussion with the 2019 Desmond Tutu Fellows. The CEO’s book, Africa's Critical Choices, triggered an engaging discussion and Dr Mayaki exhorted the Tutu Fellows to diligently try and link technical solutions to political ones in whatever they do. He gave some of the following examples to illustrate this point: If Fellows, for instance, are working in agriculture, their objective could be to strengthen a farmers’ association, or if they are working in the health domain then it could be linked to nutrition in a community.
He also urged the Fellows to create networks beyond their current domains, as this will allow them to create synergies and have greater impact in society. Dr Mayaki also encouraged the young leaders by stating that the incremental changes being effected in the short and medium term will contribute to the long term objectives, thus instilling transformation.
When asked if democracy in Africa is fit for purpose, the CEO responded that, “The value of any democracy lies in its inherent values of dignity, freedom, and equality which are essential for a democratic system in order to avoid the development of conflict.”