Tunisian activist Aya Chebbi appointed African Union’s Youth Envoy

By Daniel Mumbere

Tunisian activist, Aya Chebbi was on Thursday appointed the first ever African Union (AU) Youth Envoy, a position created to mobilise young people across the continent towards the pursuit of Agenda 2063.

Chebbi, a Pan-African feminist from Tunisia, who shot to global fame as a blogger during the 2010 Arab Spring in her country, will work with a Youth Advisory Council comprised of members from across the continent.

‘‘She will advocate, and raise awareness on, the implementation of the Demographic Dividend Roadmap,’‘ reads part of the AU statement on her appointment.

The African Union Demographic Dividend Roadmap is a policy document which roots for investment in Africa’s young people in the areas of employment and entrepreneurship, education and skills development, health and wellbeing, and rights, governance and youth empowerment

About Aya Chebbi

Aya Chebbi (31) is an activist on a mission to connect, empower and mobilise African youth into social change through Pan- Africanism.

Chebbi holds a degree in International Relations from the Higher Institute of Human Sciences of Tunis and a Master’s degree in African Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where she was a Mo Ibrahim Scholar.

She is the founder of multiple platforms, such as the Youth Programme of Holistic Empowerment Mentoring (Y-PHEM), which coaches the next generation to be positive change agents; Afrika Youth Movement (AYM), one of Africa’s largest Pan-African youth-led movements; and Afresist, a youth leadership programme and multimedia platform documenting youth work in Africa.

Source: africanews

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Nigeria: NAFOWA to empower unemployed women, youths in Abuja

By Jerrywright Ukwu

NAFOWA is set to empower another batch of 220 unemployed women and youths

The association commenced the 10th edition of its skills acquisition and vocational training programme in Abuja

The 10-week programme will provide participants with needed knowledge and practical skills in vocational areas

The Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association (NAFOWA) has commenced the 10th edition of its skills acquisition and vocational training programme in Abuja.

The 10-week programme, which commenced on Saturday, November 3, at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base Abuja will provide participants with needed knowledge and practical skills in vocational areas such as tailoring, catering, hairdressing and barbing, makeup artistry, computer appreciation as well as photography and videography.

Other areas are satellite cable installation, event decoration, interior decoration and soft furnishing, soap and disinfectant production, leather shoes and bags production as well as aluminum works fabrication.

Legit.ng gathered that 220 unemployed women and youths will benefit from the skills acquisition programme which is in tandem with the association’s resolve to complement the efforts of the Federal Government in curbing youth restiveness through the provision of employment opportunities.

Speaking during the flag off ceremony, the NAFOWA national president, Hajiya Hafsat Sadique Abubakar, reiterated the commitment of the association to contribute to the socio-economic wellbeing of women and children in the society.

According to her, the commencement of the 10th edition of the programme in Abuja was a testimony to the readiness of the association to discourage any form of idleness and social vices among youths.

Her words: “We have come to commence the biggest training so far, we are ready to add another group of two hundred and twenty aspiring youths, women and widows into our skill acquisition hall of fame.

“It has long been in our plan to bring this initiative to Abuja knowing fully well that despite being a cosmopolitan city, Abuja is not spared from the problem of unemployment and the NAF Base Abuja despite being an accommodating base still has the same demographics which has always attracted NAFOWA, that is women, youths and widows.

“We know many people in this environment are in need of this empowerment intervention as the problem of unemployment, idleness and underemployment is really not selective of its location.

“Hence, the participants of this 10th edition have been carefully selected from all the Bases in Abuja that house Nigerian Air Force Personnel and their surrounding communities.

“We have identified women, youths and widows who are in need of our support through a program like this and who are willing and ready to change their stories.

“We have not only paid attention to the dependants of NAF personnel but we have also included our host communities who have been graciously accommodating us all these years as we all know the Nigerian Air Force and also NAFOWA pays special attention to a good civil military relationship.”

Earlier in her welcome address, the NAFOWA coordinator, Abuja chapter, Hajiya Rabiat Yusuf, revealed that the participants of the 10th edition of the programme were carefully selected from all the NAF Bases in Abuja and their host communities.

She also thanked the association for its continuous drive towards empowering the vulnerable in the society.

NAFOWA has graduated over 2,000 women and youths from its skills acquisition and vocational training programme in just over 2 years.

Meanwhile, in continuation of efforts at empowering dependants of personnel in productive ventures, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), recently flagged off the new farming season at 107 Air Maritime Group (107 AMG), Benin.

The farming scheme is part of the BYETA initiated in 2016 by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, as part of efforts at empowering barracks youths in all NAF bases across the country, by training them in different aspects of agriculture towards positively engaging them in productive ventures.

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Source: Legit.ng

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Youth and Revolution in Tunisia

By Alcinda Honwana

The uprising in Tunisia has come to be seen as the first true revolution of the twenty-first century, one that kick-started the series of upheavals across the region now known as the Arab Spring. In this remarkable work, Alcinda Honwana goes beyond superficial accounts of what occurred to explore the defining role of the country’s youth, and in particular the cyber activist.

Drawing on fresh testimony from those who shaped events, the book describes in detail the experiences of young activists through the 29 days of the revolution and the challenges they encountered after the fall of the regime and the dismantling of the ruling party. Now, as old and newly established political forces are moving into the political void created by Ben Ali’s departure, tensions between the older and younger generations are sharpening.

An essential account of an event that has inspired the world, and its potential repercussions for the Middle East, Africa and beyond.

Reviews

‘Alcinda Honwana’s study of the Tunisian revolution is remarkable for its extensive use of the views of Tunisia’s youth about the roles they played and the marginalisation they feel over the events of 2010 and 2011. Her book gives us a rare insight into the way in which the downfall of the Ben Ali regime was encompassed and what has happened to the aspirations of those most immediately involved. As such it is an invaluable addition to our knowledge of the wider revolution in the Arab world today.’ – George Joffé, Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge

‘Alcinda’s book is an excellent analysis of the youth’s contribution in the Tunisian revolution. This comes as no surprise as Alcinda was able to build excellent relations with the youth who spoke with her openly about their role in the revolution as well as their hopes about the future.’ – Hakim Ben Hammouda, special advisor to the president of the African Development Bank and former chief economist and sirector of the Trade, Finance and Economic Development Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Source: African Arguments

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How can young people secure a better future for Africa?

With 70% of Africa’s population under the age of 30, we as a continent are presented with a great opportunity and, possibly, a great challenge. Young Africans today are taking actions that not only have an immediate impact, but will also determine the future of the continent for decades to come.

Never has there been such weighty responsibility on the shoulders of young people. Never has there been the influence in the hands of young people like the influence they carry now. But for Africa to reap the dividends she has longed for, it is up to our generation to make sure that influence is channelled correctly and directed towards relevant issues that affect not only ourselves, but generations after us. This can only be achieved if we come together as young people and begin to address the challenges before us as a continent.

The role of African youth is drastically changing, but so are some of the challenges we face, such as employability and entrepreneurship opportunities. The strength of any society is within the strength and resolve of its youth – what investment are young people making in our continent today?

In the past 6 months, I’ve listened to the argument stating that we have spent more time focused on what’s happening in other continents, like the US presidency, and less on local issues. I have had the privilege of being invited to speak at different platforms across Africa and have met and engaged with fellow young people who know less about my country Zimbabwe but more of what’s happening in the US and in Europe, and these discussions brought us to a conclusion that as a continent we have not done a good job in telling our own stories, both good and bad, affecting our people. (Could you tell us a bit about your background here – in what capacity are you listening to these arguments?) There are important matters such as the thousands of lives of fellow Africans lost at sea when trying to leave the continent for greener pastures, youth unemployment, gross mismanagement of government institutions and resources, xenophobia among our own people and the general restlessness and frustrations of young African people.

There’s no problem with us engaging in discourse at a global level, but I feel it is important for us to exert more of our time and energy on issues that affect our continent and our people. I believe if we, as youth, don’t take ownership and responsibility for our problems and challenges, we run the risk of allowing other nations, organizations and institutions to do so on their terms. My question to fellow young Africans is are we creating a future in which generations after us can be confident?

A lot has been said about Africa and its rise in the past few years. For this to be true, I believe it requires its people to also rise and drive the agenda, not wait for instruction or direction from other nations. If this doesn’t happen, Africa may still rise, but only for those with an agenda for the continent. This then begs me the question of fellow young Africans: what is our agenda, and what are we doing to shape that agenda?

With regard to employability, according to the African Development Bank report, by 2050 Africa will be home to 38 of the 40 youngest countries in the world, with median populations under 25 years of age. This will result in an estimated 10-12 millionnew people joining the labour force each year. These statistics clearly indicate that a considerable amount of investment must go into human development to unlock a demographic dividend. What innovative policies and programmes do we, as young people, want to make sure that this happens and that this growth will not result in a demographic time bomb for Africa?

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution upon us and the rate at which technology is advancing it is critical that we have a sufficiently educated and skilled workforce to be able to drive Africa in this direction. There is currently a mismatch between industry demands and the education curriculum. Education institutions need to update their curricula to align with the direction in which the world and Africa are going. If we ignore this, our young people will have irrelevant qualifications that the continent will be unable to benefit from.

It is worrying to note the rate at which young educated Africans are leaving to seek more opportunities abroad. The grass is not always greener on the other side, however, as leaders of other nations are also facing domestic challenges and therefore not prioritizing immigrants. If our educational institutions can include entrepreneurship as a mandatory subject at all levels of education, more young people will be better equipped to create jobs and address the issue of high unemployment.

I am a strong advocate for local solutions to local challenges, but for this to happen, we need to encourage and cultivate innovation among our youth. It is encouraging to note that there are pockets of this already taking place across the continent, where we can see uptake and use of locally-designed technology. More of this needs to happen across the board, covering the different sectors of our economies, as Africa still lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to introducing disruptive technology. Human development is about creating opportunities and building a person’s ability to innovate and be entrepreneurial. Significant investment needs to go towards this.

With the growth of the continent, it only makes sense for us to industrialize in order to be less reliant on importing products for consumption from outside the continent. According to the African Economic Outlook 2017 report, Africa’s growing population is expected to generate a rise in consumer spending from $680 billion in 2008 to $2.2 trillion in 2030. This increased spending has the potential to lead to greater prosperity.

The growth in Africa’s population presents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurial innovations and ideas to be implemented. It does, however, require strong political will to enable the right environment to be created to encourage these ideas and for entrepreneurs to be supported in their different stages of growth, from start-up, early stage and growth stage right through to becoming large corporations.

As you may notice, this article asks more questions than it provides solutions. The best way for us to answer these is if we begin to engage in conversations and dialogue amongst ourselves as young Africans and see what solutions we can come up with for a better Africa. We spend time complaining about poor leadership in our countries, but my final question is: are we ourselves prepared to succeed the generation that precedes us?

Let us intentionally create a culture that encourages the building and shaping of the Africa that we want. The change we want begins with us coming together and developing our own culture and value system for thinking, planning, implementation, accountability, integrity and collaboration. It is up to us as young Africans to shape the narrative of our continent. Let us begin to do so, in every sphere of society.

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