Africa-Press – Rwanda. The youth have been prominent at the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government meeting underway in Kigali. At the youth summit, young people called for debt cancellation for poor countries in the wake of the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic so as to have a better chance at opportunities, especially in job creation.
Others called for more support, especially in entrepreneurial ventures, which would see them address common challenges such as unemployment, trade imbalance, among others.
Across sessions, participants cited the role of the youth in actualising the Commonwealth’s ambitions such as trade and regional integration, and the future of work.
Experts noted that a common future for the Commonwealth nations must be about the future of the youth, adding that youth entrepreneurship investments are critical. It’s only right, at least 60 per cent of the Commonwealth population is aged 29 and below.
President Paul Kagame on Tuesday highlighted practical approaches towards the ambition of giving youth space in decision-making at all levels.
This would, among other things, see key youth concerns factored in decisions and policies introduced in various ecosystems as well as common barriers to growth and opportunities eliminated.
Inclusion of youth across all levels of decision making would also see better innovation uptake considering that the age group is responsible for a majority of innovation across value chains.
Young people are also far more likely to make links and connections compared to their older counterparts; this in turn means that they are in position to drive the integration agenda and priority of the bloc.
Multiple studies and simulations have shown the impact youth inclusion could have; job creation, innovation, value addition to traditional value chains, among others. However, despite the knowledge of what the impact of youth inclusion could be, progress is yet to be seen.
As the largest demographic group in the Commonwealth, member countries have an opportunity to realise multiple goals by including the youth. Hopefully, the calls by the youth will be heeded to this time.