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“Participants react to sessions at the AR-CYMM”
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“Participants react to sessions at the AR-CYMM”

Alphonse AkouyuYouth, leaders, and government ministers put their thoughts on the table at the Youth Ministers Conference, as Alphonse Akouyu, 20, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Cameroon reports from the Africa Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers meeting in Yaounde.

The theme of the first Africa Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers Conference in Yaounde February 8 to 10, 2015 was ‘Young People Building a Stable and Sustainable Future’.  The stability and sustainability of the future is now a dominant subject in most debate centers across the continent because of a rise in the number of negative forces affecting the growth of the continent. Some of the participants at the conference shared with us their opinion on the theme and other issues discussed during the conference.

“Youth policy is a collective responsibility and we are calling for a united voice amongst youths so that we can build a true African youth society that reflects our shared values,” said Kiziah Philbert, Africa Commonwealth Youth Council Representative.

However, “we need to discuss with our leaders in order for young people to participate in decision making and reduce the unemployment rate, because most young people who have nothing to do end up joining arm groups and negative forces that destabilize our continent. It is easier to destabilize but difficult to restore peace and security.  There can be no development without peace and security. We call on decision makers to ensure that decisions that have been made have actions after. Result is very important for the future of Africa,” said Francine Muyumba, President of the Pan African Youth Union.

Also, “one of the things we need to look at in Africa is implementation. We have been attending meetings year in year out, different countries, different places and polices are established, resolutions taken, but we lack implementation. None of those taken resolutions are ever implemented. If we don’t implement, we would be left with more meetings to attend and in the end nothing is accomplished,” said Sarah Elago of Namibia.

Melvin Alie of Sierra Leone said it is important to note that “there is marginalization of young people in the post 2015 development agenda and we have come together to know why we are not part of the agenda. Youths have to be given the right training in order to be ready for leadership when the time comes.”

The people who work with the youths to ensure that they impact society positively think that “it is important to properly train our youth workers so that they can effectively assist the youths in their development initiatives,” said Peter Anum of Ghana. Therefore “young people must be seen as partners in addressing the challenges countries are facing today,” noted Saji Prelis, Director of Children and Youth Programmes at Search for Common Ground.

As for the policy makers, “we gather in Yaounde to deliberate under the theme ‘Young People, Building a Stable and Sustainable Future’. We are challenged to seek better opportunities to engage our young people such that they become fully aware that peace and security precedes and consolidates development. It is therefore important for us to ask the question: What Africa do we wish for our children and children’s children to inherit?  Participation in national development through the rebuilding of civic values and acts of volunteerism by young people requires that we create safe spaces for them. If we fail to bring our young people to the table and provide them with enabling conditions to make their own contribution in achieving national and global development goals, we stand in the way of our nation’s progress and there is no way we can talk about sustainable development,” said Dr. Bidoung Mkpatt, Cameroon’s Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education.

Finally, “we need the young people to have a secure future because statistics indicate that young people account for 60 per cent of the Commonwealth aged 30 and under. In the case of Africa it is 70 per cent. People have a view that young people are the future. They are not the future, they are the present and it is important that we advance the interest of young people at three levels: nationally, regionally and globally. We have to ensure that there is more work and positive impact. We also need to give young people opportunities to use their full potentials so that they can grow, create new businesses and generate jobs,” said Deodat Maharaj, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General.

photo credit: Rehearsal via photopin (license)

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About me:

Hello everyone this is your friend Akouyu Alphonse from Bamenda located in the North West Region of Cameroon. I’m currently in my last year in the Catholic University of Cameroon Bamenda studying Banking and Finance. I will be completing my studies in June of 2014 with the hope of becoming a Business/International Relations expert.

My areas of interest are serving as Journalist especially on Sports (football) and societal issues aimed at inspiring people to believe in themselves and volunteerism.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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