For the acceleration and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) initiative, Youth must be trained and capacitated. This came to light when the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Caucus on Youth, Chairperson Hon. Dali Laila addressed delegates on the 2nd day of a Workshop held on the African Union Theme for 2023, “Accelerating the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”. The Workshop focused on the Strategic Significance of the Pan-African Parliament in the implementation of the Agreement.
“Youth are the key Human resource for this continent, without them the AfCFTA will not be accelerated,” said Hon. Laila
Taking place in Midrand, South Africa, on the sidelines of the ongoing Ordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament of the PAP, the two-day workshop seeks to unbundle the African Free Trade Area and to define the role of the PAP in accelerating the effective implementation of this landmark trade agreement. It also aims to achieve means in which the PAP can play an active and proactive role for its contribution in the development of the African continent.
“We appreciate this workshop as it gives us an opportunity as Youth to contribute meaningful to our continent. Let us all bear in mind that AfCFTA is a dream come true for Africa. It is our wealth as young people; we are urging our leaders at a continental level to consider giving us skills through various training programmes for us to add more value to this initiative, we are the majority in this continent. If we are left out then this bright dream for Africa will be history before it comes to life,” added Hon. Laila.
Hon. Laila emphasised that training programmes for youth must be implemented at national level.
“These key training initiatives must be done across all countries in Africa. Our countries must priorities these training because without them there won’t be any acceleration on AfCFTA. Policy makers in our continent should as well come to play for us to achieve our plans. We are certain that the future and plans of youth are centred around this AfCFTA,” she said, encouraging PAP legislators to create urgent awareness about AfCFTA for the Youth to understand it.
Recently, President of the PAP H.E. Chief Fortune Z. Charumbira encouraged the youth to be the driving force behind the implementation of the AfCFTA. He called on young people to tap into opportunities offered by intra-African trade and play a leading role in accelerating Africa’s industrialisation and economic transformation.
H.E. Chief Charumbira said that young people must make their voice heard to ensure that the implementation process of the AfCFTA is responsive to their needs, as the future of the African continent. The leader of Africa’s Parliament believes that harnessing the potential of the landmark continental agreement will help the youth overcome difficulties in accessing formal employment and decent jobs.
The President further pledged the PAP’s commitment to ensuring that the youth fully play their role and reap the benefits of what he described as one of the most important African projects to date.
“I am pleased to say that the PAP can and should play an instrumental role in driving youth inclusion and participation in continental policies and programmes in general and in the implementation of the AfCFTA in particular.
He added: “You must insist that you are part of the action, do not be bystanders. As your Parliament, we exist to ensure that your concerns are considered by the decision-making structures of our Union. Africa has the world's youngest population, with over 400 million young people aged 15 to 35 years. To galvanise Africa's accelerated economic growth agenda, the youth must be a prime anchor of the AfCFTA. In that regard, we must include the youth in all facets of the AfCFTA implementation.”
He also accentuated that young people must dare to take charge now as he called on governments to deliberately include youths in policy and decision-making platforms, integrating their needs into trade policies, enhancing their participation in cross-border trade.
“You are not the leaders of tomorrow; you are leaders in training. You must take the bull by the horns and insist on being part of the action today” said H.E. Chief Charumbira.