In less than ten days, all roads will lead to Kigali, Rwanda, for the 5th edition of the annual YouthConnekt Africa Summit 2022 (YCAS 2022). Organised by the Government of Rwanda, through its Ministry of Youth and Culture, and in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), this year’s summit will take place from 13 – 15 October 2022 at the BK and Intare Arenas.
The 2022 continental summit expects to attract about 10,000 participants from across Africa and the diaspora with a target of 90% youth delegates. Representatives from governments, the private sector, civil society organisations, and non-profit organisations, among others, will be in Kigali to engage young people in rich conversations with African youth and move from rhetoric to action.
As the days to the landmark event draw closer, here are five reasons why every young person in the continent should plug in or visit Kigali for the summit.
1. The future of Africa is in its youth
Development ideologies and agenda post COVID19 should prioritise the youth as key stakeholders. The 2022 summit promises to concretise tangible actions on many issues affecting the youth, including climate change, mental and sexual health, joblessness, skyrocketing commodities prices, and cost of living, among others. As the continent re-imagines the future, that will bring forth new prospects that will leapfrog unexplored opportunities more sustainably and inclusively will not be feasible without its most significant population at the table. It is time for the youth to be part of the solutions and utilisation of resources that build more formidable and resilient societies and a future smart Africa beyond aid.
2. An Africa that prioritises its young people is the now and the future
In line with this year’s theme – Accelerating Investment in Youth: “Resilient Youth, Resilient Africa”, this year’s event features events curated by the youth for the youth. From plenaries and roundtables, youth labs, research publications, walk-through exhibitions, training Sessions, Xchange lounges, speed networking cafes, Ted-talk style presentations, pop-up events, to city immersion experiences, attending this year’s summit will provide the right platforms for the exchange of knowledge and the start of lasting partnerships.
Rwanda as a nation fully embraces technology and innovation, and this provides a stepping stone for Rwanda’s and Africa’s youth. Out of every ten innovative stories, at least seven belong to young people, representing the power of innovation and hope alive in Rwanda – ensuring our society thrives with the young people at the centre.
3. Co-creating holds a more substantial promise for the youth
YouthConnekt Africa, as a continental initiative, aims to empower young people by enhancing their knowledge, experiences, and skills while investing in their ideas, innovations, and agency. African platforms such as the Timbuktoo Initiative and Norrsken that accelerate African youth’s innovative projects through access to finance, mentorship, and more will be avenues for the young Africans who will attend the summit to create long-lasting beneficial relationships. Suppose we harness Africa’s demographic dividend meaningfully towards achieving Africa’s SDGs mandate, the AU 2063 agenda, and AU Youth Charter.
4. Innovation spurs bolder ideas
At the height of the pandemic, African youth proved that this continent is a hotbed for innovation and home-grown solutions. Like previous summits, the Kigali YCSA 2022 brings an array of inspiring and unique creations with great potential to revolutionise development in Africa – as they say, the future of Africa’s development is in its young people’s hands. At the summit, participants will interact with various possible solutions that can be replicated and scaled up to address some of Africa’s biggest challenges. All created by our very own African youth, proving that we can harness localised solutions to address globalised challenges. Through the summit, Africa’s home-grown solutions will showcase, shifting the narrative regarding Africa’s place in development.
5.Platform to influence/foster change and development through policy and investments
Without the involvement of youth, Africa’s future is limited. Like the previous editions of the summit, the 2022 gathering of young people will renew the persistent call to action, challenging policymakers and leaders, business enterprises, and thought leaders to put the youth at the forefront and centre of their plans and investments to guarantee a future-smart Africa. The creativity of the young Africans deserves recognition by creating the space and the market for them.
6. A Community of Game Changers
“Instead of better glasses, your network gives you better eyes.”-Ronald Burt. The 5th edition of the YouthConnekt will provide a platform for #African youth to connect and exchange ideas with like-minded people from all over Africa and beyond. Good networks offer practical advice, funding and investments, clients, referrals, and many more. Join thousands of young innovators, problem solvers, entrepreneurs, and policymakers from across the continent!
African youth have a huge potential to leverage their collective capabilities, ideas, and innovation to design the Africa they desire for themselves and others. The YouthConnekt Africa Summit provides a platform where youth can connect with their peers, exchange knowledge, and foster new ways of collaboration beyond their borders. With close to 10,000 youth in attendance, this is arguably the ‘Davos’ of African youth, where new ideas will emerge and be co-created, with the tried and tested ones finding new markets and opportunities for replication.
As the proverb goes, you can go faster alone but further together.
In addition, do not miss the post-conference activities in the beautiful, safe, and Africa’s cleanest city, Kigali. Discover Kigali’s eateries, rich cultural heritage, and friendly people! Visit RDB to discover more about Rwanda’s tourism prospects.
7. Rwanda is open!
When we say Rwanda is open, we don’t refer to post-covid re-opening. We mean that visitors from ALL African, Commonwealth and Francophonie countries have full access to the land of a thousand hills through a 30-day free-visa entry! Visit the most beautiful country to experience the rich culture, local tourism, and much more!
Initiated in 2012 by the Government of Rwanda in partnership with the UNDP as a multifaceted youth empowerment model that focuses on leveraging youth employability, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement through innovation, the 5th edition of the summit is a homecoming, and Rwanda is open and ready to receive all of Africa young people. With these five reasons, it’s compelling why young people should grab their spot and be part of the annual dialogue that continues to shape Africa.
Visit https://youthconnekt.rw/site/ as Rwanda awaits to welcome you all with open arms.
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of UNDP and YouthConnekt Africa