The Fourth Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Africa Region) Youth Parliament has today opened in Kampala.
The meeting hosted by the parliament of Uganda has attracted over 200 delegates from all the 19 common wealth African countries including Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya and others.
The meeting held under the theme ‘Securing a better future for Africa: Role of the Youth’ was officially opened today at Hotel Africana and it will be meeting at the Parliament Building up to April19. It is to inform the agenda of the regional conference to be held in Botswana in August, 2018.
At its opening, Masindi Woman MP Jalia Bintu, the Chairperson of the organising committee of the Fourth Commonwealth Youth Parliament said that the youth delegates are expected to analyse issues and challenges that cut across the member states and come up with resolutions providing solutions to them.
James Ebitu, the Director Social Protection in the Gender, Labour and Social Development ministry, challenged the Youth to ensure that the resolutions they make address and call to action all stakeholders to prioritize the needs of the youth.
Ebitu said that focus should be on education and skills development, job creation in a sustainable job environment in emerging industries as well as strengthening civic participation and leadership.
“We need to identify, nurture and mentor leaders that provide solutions, participate in advocacy and become role models in our communities,” said Ebitu.
He also reiterated the need for the delegates to resolve the issue of drug abuse among young people. Ebitu noted that the socioeconomic challenges faced by the youth are a global concern that all nations are grappling with, registering different levels of success.
“Youth are not a challenge, rather, youths are facing challenges that we need to jointly help them over come. Our interventions should not be to help the youth just to survive, but to facilitate them to thrive and cause socioeconomic transformation and sustainable development.” Ebitu added.
The National Female Youth Member of Parliament Anna Adeke Ebaju, urged the youth delegates to take up management positions available at all levels to prepare them for later leadership at national and regional levels.
Adeke said that her positions as Guild President at Makerere University and later Speaker of the Students Council had prepared and given her experience to serve as Member of Parliament at the national level.
She said that despite their numbers, few or no governments had charged the youth with power to make decisions on especially issues that affect them.
“I urge you to fully participate in leadership at all levels, in Church, sports or the community. Do not be afraid to take up these leadership positions because Africa needs your experience,” said Adeke.
She added that youth must get into management and leadership and experience what it means to lead. The Youth MP said that youth in leadership would bring forth their models to fight corruption, drugs, unemployment and HIV/AIDS.
In their first session on Monday, the Commonwealth Youth delegates will debate issues regarding Youth Unemployment, Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and harnessing Youth in Leadership. Their other debates throughout the week are to focus on Teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS, Youth and Social Media among others.
MP Jalia Bintu says that these selected topics centre on focus areas that are being addressed by governments and the development partners to bring about far reaching strategies and policies that will steer the developing countries ahead.
He said that after the youth coming up with resolutions, an appeal is to be made to respective governments to ensure that they are implemented.