Paradigm Initiative calls for policies that will uplift African youths

AS the world marked this year’s International Youth Day celebration, the Paradigm Initiative (PIN), a social enterprise organization, has called on governments in Africa to make policies that would improve life of African youths to enable them compete for opportunities around the globe.

In a statement issued to commemorate the 2020  International Youth Day, PIN stated that the struggles and challenges of young people all over the continent have been further compounded by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Therefore, governments should make policies that will bring about improved life and that would enable them to compete for opportunities around the globe,” it said.

The organisation noted that the commemoration for 2020 whose theme is ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’ came at a time when the world was battling against the COVID-19 pandemic.

It stressed that the effects have been adverse on vulnerable youth such as refugees, those in rural areas, migrants and more so, youth in the informal sector who live from hand to mouth due to high levels of unemployment in many African countries. 

Making reference to the UN/DESA Policy Brief #67: Protecting and mobilizing youth in COVID-19 responses, PIN stated that young people are particularly vulnerable to the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

With many African countries on lockdown guidelines in response to the pandemic, it called for policies that ensure that social safety nets are afforded to youths to ensure they are able to get access to improved livelihoods and to be able to actively engage in any global action.

It further stated that more than one in five young people aged 15–24 are neither in employment, education or training, adding that African States  should provide youths with equal opportunities for education and employment.

“We encourage states to ensure that youth have access to the internet in keeping with  Principle 37(2) of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression And Access to Information in Africa African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights which provides that states shall recognise that universal, equitable, affordable and meaningful access to the internet is necessary for the realisation of freedom of expression, access to information and the exercise of other human rights,” PIN said.

According to the organisation, internet access provides a platform for the enjoyment of human rights, stressing that providing youths with internet access is critical more so now during the pandemic.

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“We stand committed to empowering young people with skills that capacitate them to serve their communities and to improve their livelihoods.

“Through the PIN Life Skills, ICTs, Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship (LIFE) training program, many youths are being empowered to access digital platforms that enhance their prospects of employment and starting businesses. This empowerment equally capacitates them to receive information and to be able to participate in national processes and beyond,” it said.

The International Youth Day celebration was endorsed in 1999 by the United Nations General Assembly. 

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