Rwanda to host the inaugural YouthConnekt Africa Summit in July 2017
[Kigali-March 23rd, 2017] On July 21st, 2017, H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda will host the inaugural YouthConnekt Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. Under the theme “Harnessing Africa’s Demographic Dividend” the Summit is expected to be attended by Heads of State, top business executives, leaders of international development organizations, academia and civil society working in different areas of youth empowerment. More than 2500 youth from across the continent will join the summit including some of the most successful young entrepreneurs and innovators, artists, activists and opinion leaders in all walks of life. The event is co-organized by the Government of Rwanda in collaboration with UNCTAD, UNDP and other YouthConnekt partners.
Commenting on the event, Hon. Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Minister for Youth and ICT said: “YouthConnekt mission is unleash youth potential by bridging the gap between problems and solutions, needs and resources as well as connecting youth with their roles models in business and leadership. The event is expected to leave an enduring legacy of enabling millions of youth to harness limitless opportunities that their continent has to offer”.
YouthConnekt Africa Summit partners recognize that youth entrepreneurship combined with smart use of technology are key to Africa’s sustainable peace and prosperity. The Secretary General of UNCTAD, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi declared: “eTrade can help Africa unlock jobs for its youth. UNCTAD is glad to partner with Rwanda in growing entrepreneurial opportunities in this area”.
YouthConnekt initiative was launched in 2012 by the Government of Rwanda in collaboration with One UN Rwanda. The initiative combines elements of skills development, entrepreneurship, access to finance, awareness raising on issues related to youth development, promotion of youth citizenship through community dialogue, volunteerism and inclusion in local and national policy dialogue.
“The One UN family in Rwanda is pleased to be partnering with the MYICT and UNCTAD on this incredibly important initiative. Africa has over 226 million young people between 15-24. They represent a significant asset for the future development of the continent. But we need to enable these young people to pursue an education, enter the workforce, start new businesses, and contribute to policy decisions within their countries. This is what the Summit and the YouthConnekt programme are about” said Stephen Rodriques, the UNDP Country Director in Rwanda.
Based on the success and impact of YouthConnekt on Rwandan Youth, 14 other African countries have already expressed their interest to adopt and implement the YouthConnekt program and following a regional workshop that Rwanda hosted in September 2015, 3 countries have already launched their own YouthConnekt initiative and others are planning to follow. YouthConnekt has demonstrated significant impacts within the Youth and the community’s development. Through its different components, the program has reached over 4 million youth who have been directly involved in both decision making and economic empowerment. Through the awarding component, around 4,000 off-farm jobs. YouthConnekt Africa aims at creating 10 million jobs and raising 1 million youth leaders by 2020 among other objectives.