ACP YPN advise EP on future EU-Africa relations: Sustainable Investments

On 22nd November, Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN President & Founder, presented at the EP High-level conference on a renewed partnership with Africa on the 2nd Roundtable: Attracting investments for sustainable and inclusive development and growth. The speakers included Pierre Heilbronn, Vice-President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary General of UNCTAD, Christophe Yvetot, Director of UNIDO Representation to the EU and ACP Secretariat, Lamberto Dai Pra’, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Australia for Enel Green Power, Issad Rebrab, CEO of the CEVITAL industrial group.

Yentyl began by welcoming the opportunity as a youth representative to present on the subject, given the importance and central theme of youth at the forthcoming AU-EU Heads of State summit. She made reference to her recent co-publication in ECDPM on ‘How to renew the EU-Africa Partnership through transcontinental youth networks’ and stated, “while the upcoming Summit on ‘youth’ is a unique opportunity to place youth integration and inclusion in policy and decision-making processes at the heart of relations between the African and European continents, the new strategy must be innovative, visionary and dedicated.”

First, the renewed partnership must be innovative through the development of joint objectives to ensure young people play an active role in the decision-making and the implementation of the partnership. She underlined the need to create spaces within institutions for youth – young business leaders, entrepreneurs and experts – to contribute and stated the example that ACP YPN has formally been integrated in the EU-Cariforum Joint Consultative Committee monitoring the Economic Partnership Agreement. She said this is best practice that needs to be repeated.

Second, it must be visionary by going beyond mere strengthening of relations on a nation-to-nation or region-to-region basis, but also through horizontal and vertical cooperation with youth civil society to support the reframing of social, economic and political values. She underlined that it may also be necessary to create new institutions for youth – young business leaders, entrepreneurs and experts – to contribute and stated the example that ACP YPN created the Youth Forum at the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly to better connect youth and parliamentarians in the EU-ACP partnership. The Youth Forum has been institutionalized and now is an official body of the JPA, however there is no sustainable and dedicated financing to guarantee this remains youth-led and youth-owned. This is a lesson that dedicated financing is needed to support youth initiatives.

Third, it should be dedicated to harness the already innovative initiatives that young people are implementing to empower their peers – be it on entrepreneurship, education and political engagement – to bring a transformative change to our societies, which can adequately prepare us for the global and common concerns of our generations. Yentyl highlighted that every country should have an entrepreneurship strategy (as discussed at the ACP-UNIDO day 2017) and that concrete investments are needed in youth Human Resources (as discussed at EDD17 with COLEACP via the campaign #Agri4youth).

In conclusion, Yentyl stated that ACP YPN is ready to play its role with international organisations and the private sector for the sustainable inclusion of young experts, young business leaders and young entrepreneurs; in order to better connect youth and institutions for sustainable and inclusive development and growth because investing in youth is a sustainable investment.

See again her full intervention below:

See ACP YPN’s recent declarations on the topics:

Africa-EU CSO Forum Declaration
S&D Africa Week Youth Declaration
Africa-Europe Youth Summit Declaration
See ACP YPN contributions in the framework of the ACP-EU Cotonou agreement:
CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee Joint statement
Nairobi declaration
St Julian’s Action Plan

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