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Changing the Narrative: Youth in Africa
POSTED BY ZEENAT RAHMAN
Source: State Department
For far too long, the continent of Africa has been perceived by many in the West as a place of conflict and dictators dependent on foreign aid. This was never an accurate picture, and it certainly doesn't reflect the economic dynamism and social change taking place in Africa today. With seven of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world, Africa's growth is being driven by young people who are brimming with talent and energy. This is why the United States has made youth engagement central to our foreign policy on the African continent -- identifying young leaders as important allies and collaborating with them for economic and democratic progress.
Throughout my travels across the continent, I have met young Africans who are challenging commonly-held narratives that Africa is stagnant and traditional. A young woman I met from Libya left her position as an architect to dedicate herself to shaping the future of her country as an election monitor and contributer to draft their constitution. In Uganda, I worked with a young man who was orphaned as a child, and as a teenager created an investment fund venture to help other struggling young Africans develop their own businesses.
President Obama launched the Young African Leaders Initiative in 2010, placing young African leaders at the heart of our strategic engagement with the continent. It has become a signature effort of the White House and demonstrates our commitment to helping Africa’s next generation of leaders grow and develop.
In addition, 25 of our diplomatic missions across Africa have established Embassy Youth Councils that connect U.S. diplomats to local young leaders. These Youth Councils not only allow young people the opportunity to meet and discuss their views with high levels of leadership from U.S. embassies and from Washington, but they also inform the development of programs that address local issues. For example, prior to the United Nations' review of Cameroon’s human rights record, the Embassy Yaoundé Youth Council provided their views on the human rights situation in their country, which were shared with State Department offices focused on human rights. Youth Council members in South Sudan created an 11-point action plan that laid out their concerns with the national constitutional review process, adding their voices to the debate. Members from the Youth Council in South Africa crafted recommendations to improve the struggling public education system in their country.
The United States will continue to inspire young African leaders to drive the path towards democracy, peace, and prosperity for generations to come. This weekend, Secretary Kerry traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he participated in celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the African Union. In his remarks to African leaders, Secretary Kerry acknowledged that nearly all of the leaders are older than the African Union while the vast majority of Africans are younger than the African Union. Sixty percent of Africans are under the age of 30. For this reason, Secretary Kerry participated in a "Youth Connect" event with African young people on the issues that matter most to them. The event was jointly hosted by BBC's "HARDtalk" at the University of Addis Ababa and will be broadcast by BBC News, BBC World, BBC World Service, and BBC 2 on May 28 and 29. We hope you tune into this thought-provoking discussion with the next generation of African leaders!
About the Author: Zeenat Rahman serves as Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues.
We the true and pure Ethiopian should INVITE the former USA president George Bush . He helped Africa to fight against aids and thanks to him millions of African got and still getting a free treatment. He may not popular in state but what he had done to Africa was no other USA president did. We should welcome him to Addis Ababa as true and heroic USA president. Thanks to him he burn down those Arabs who for the last 35 years bleeding Ethiopia to death by helping every shifta shabians. He bleed them to death and now their countries become a hill on earth. Look at bagdad ,Pakistan, Afghanistan a place of Devil resident where hill on earth.
This black USA president OBAMA BIN LADIN will never step his feet as long as he is a live, because the devil that he and his wife worshiped in Indonesia and helped them now to become a president had told them NOT TO VISIT ETHIOPIA.
Have you guys notice that Obama has a blond physic behind him eveytimes he and his family travel or visit special day and
Special events . She is not his body guard but if she sense any danger around then she gives a sign to him to move away. She belongs to a secret society that has power. She can scan any individual like a commodity that you buy from wall mart with code .
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