On 24th October 2017, Yentyl Williams, President & Founder of ACP YPN presented on ‘Unlocking the potential of ACP women and youth skills for industrial jobs’ as part of the ACP-UNIDO day Symposium. The theme of the Symposium was “Boosting ACP Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization

through job creation, value chains and productive investments.” The ACP UNIDO day was also a unique moment to launch the ACP-UNIDO report on investing sustainable prosperity, available here.

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The symposium began with an opening session with by P.I Gomes, ACP Secretariat Secretary General and Li Yong, UNIDO Director General, and Christophe Yvetot, UNIDO Representative to the EU and ACP Secretariat. The co-panellists included: Mr. Matteo Landi, Industrial Development Expert, Rural Entrepreneurship, Job Creation and Human Security Division, UNIDO;  Dr. Meryem Aziz Alaoui, Professor, Mundiapolis University of Casablanca; Ms. Meron Seid, Owner & designer, Exotic Leather, Ethiopia; Ms. Virpi Stucki, Learning Knowledge Development Facility; Ms. Dagmar Schumacher, Director, UN WOMEN Brussels Office and Mr. Viwanou Gnassounou, ACP Assistant Secretary General for Sustainable Economic Development and Trade as moderator.

Yentyl began by stating that a mix of policy + innovation is the key to unlock the potential of ACP women and youth skills for industrial jobs. Yentyl said that there are two main ways that innovation can be used to unlock the skills of women and youth. This includes: creation of spaces within existing institutions, based on ACP YPN’s formal inclusion at the EU-Cariforum Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) and where that is not possible, creating new structures/institutions to unlock this potential. This second example is based on Yentyl’s initiative to found the ACP-EU Joint parliamentary Assembly youth Forum.

Why? Yentyl underlined the importance of innovating beyond policy in light of the under-utilisation of Article 26 Cotonou Partnernship Agreement on youth cooperation, in order to realize the potential of youth so that they are better integrated into society to achieve their full potential. Indeed, up until the creation of ACP YPN it was mostly under-utilised; why because INNOVATION was needed! In the context of entrepreneurship and job creation it was especially under-utlised given the existence of Article 26.b, Cotonou, which sets out that the partnership should: promote the skills, energy, innovation and potential of youth in order to enhance their economic, social and cultural opportunities and enlarge their employment opportunities in the productive sector. Similarly, SDGs are not evidently linked to ‘youth’ since there is not one youth SDG and youth are just mentioned 3 times in the 169 targets.

In conclusion, Yentyl underlined that investing in young people is a productive investment –she called for boosting the value chain of young people’s knowledge, expertise and exchange and inclusive and sustainable industrialisation will follow.

What is UNIDO?

UNIDO is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. See more here.

Did you miss it? Watch the videos online:

Session 1 & 2  (FR)
Session 3 & 4 (FR)
See the ACP-UNIDO Symposium Concept Note & Programme here
Find out more via the ACP Secretariat

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