ACP YPN becomes member AU Diaspora Youth Task Force

On 25th July 2017, the African Union (AU) mission to the EU held it first meeting of the newly inaugurated AU Diaspora Youth Task Force (AU-DY-TF). Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN Parliamentary Relations Expert and Aissatou Touré, Expert in Sustainable agriculture and development, represented ACP YPN. They were joined by an expert cohort, including  African Union’s (AU) officer Philip Bob Jusu, Mohammed Iglueh Ofleh, Elias Network, and African Diaspora youth organizations such as Africa Communications Week (AfricaCommsWeek), African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe (Adyfe), African Diaspora Network in Europe (ADNE), AfricanGist, Be Proud asbl, Cafrikap, Cercle des Etudiants Congolais de Louvain-la-Neuve (CEC LLN), Empower‘her Network, HISHI, Jeunesse Ubuntu, YABS network, and Women Intech Africa on the subject how to bring the African youth diaspora closer to the African Union.

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Bora and Aïssatou raised four points relating to the need of (1) a comprehensive inclusion of the Diaspora, (2) inclusion of a partnership with the Pan African Youth Union, (3) the implementation of the previous signed charters and (4) the prioritizing if key technical groups.

  1. There should be a clear definition of ‘Diaspora’ in order to better identify the opportunities to better engage the AU and diaspora youth. In particular, Bora raised the idea of creating a database and of organising an African Youth Day.
  2. There should be a strong link between the AU-DY-TF and the Pan African Youth Union.
  3. The diaspora youth should be engaged on both the implementation and the monitoring of signed charters at national level.
  4. Technical groups to facilitate the work of the AU-DY-TF should cover areas such as media, events and internships, policy and advocacy, as well as a cross cutting group e.g. on youth and gender issues.

ACP YPN welcomes this exciting initiative to create better links between the AU headquarters and the youth of the AU’s sixth region, the Diaspora.

By Aïssatou Touré

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ACP YPN Conference on entrepreneurship and development

On the 6th of June ACP YPN, in collaboration with World Solidarity Forum (WSF), held its first conference on entrepreneurship and development. Disrupting the momentum, ACP YPN and WSF put at the centre of the conference Young entrepreneurs from ACP & Asia-Pacific, and put the decision-makers in the “hot seat”.  Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN Secretary General, had the honour of moderating this exchange between MEP Cecile Kyenge; his excellency Mr. Paw Lwin Sein, Ambassador of Myanmar to BENELUX and the European Union; Mr. Eric Owusu Nimako, representative of EWALA; Ms. Cynthia Mukendy, Founder of African Gist; Mr. Artur Safaryan, Co-founder of Empasco; Mr. Okka Phyo Maung, Consultant & Entrepreneur; Mr. Lex Tan,CEO & Founder of MotionsCloud; Ms. Sarah Batool Haider, freelance journalist & Mr. Maximim Emagna, Expert in charge of Private Sector at the ACP Secretariat. The other innovative elements of the conference were the interventions coming from New York, London & Myanmar from Youth Diaspora entrepreneurs who used to live in Belgium.

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In her opening remark, MEP Cecile Keyenge explained that the term “development” was not neutral because of its relations to power issues concerning both the donor and the recipient countries. Furthermore, she argued that it is difficult to speak of development without considering the resources of a given territory and the education of its population – two factors which are clearly linked with entrepreneurship. See her full intervention here.

His Excellency Mr. Paw Lwin Sein, Ambassador of Myanmar to BENELUX and the European Union, highlighted Myanmar cooperation with the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in different domains, such as security, economic development, education, and youth entrepreneurship. The last two areas are of particular importance to Myanmar, having a very young population themselves. See his full intervention here.

Mr. Eric Owusu Nimako, presented the link between the ventures of EWALA – a company providing mobile money transfer services – and the positive impact and contribution that they have in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. He explained that companies were very innovative in this sector, especially in Africa, even though there are more mobile phones than people. He highlighted the fact that his company charges no fees to send money, and concluded by saying that in order to make development really sustainable, it is not more aid that is needed, but instead more investment. See his full intervention here.

Ms Cynthia Mukendy presented her social venture African gist which aims to help the diaspora who are willing to go back to work in their country of origin to understand the African environment thanks to her broad network of contacts. See and listen to her full intervention here.

Mr. Lex-Tan connected with us through skype from the United States. Being himself a CEO and Founder of a small insurance technology company, he bestowed to young entrepreneurs like himself some advice on how to be successful: first of all, never give up and take action. You can have brilliant ideas but they may be useless if you do not know how to realize them. Secondly, you should be supported by a good team, and thirdly, you must be able to learn from your failures, which are likely to happen. See his full intervention here

Ms Sarah Batool Haider, a Pakistani journalist, explained that the current situation of women entrepreneurs in Pakistan has now evolved in a positive way, providing them with a lot of new opportunities compared to a couple of years ago when they were heavily oppressed. However, she asked that more attention be given to rural areas and to conflict-affected zones. See her full intervention here.

Artur Safaryan provided a presentation on the theory of change that they have developed in EMPASCO. Explaining the importance of developing sustainable solutions through viable internationals partnerships. See his full intervention here

Okka Phyo Maung shared his experience of when he came to Brussels and his transition from BE to Myanmar. He explained that the training and education that he received helped him to reintegrate into the Myanmar social and economic circles, which in turn helped him to come up with his recycling business to improve recycling methods in Myanmar. see his full intervention here

Mr. Maximin Emagna explained the work that the ACP secretariat is doing and the opportunities that are now available, and being made available, to young ACP entrepreneurs. He also spoke of the possibility to start working with ACP YPN to help integrate into the future ACP strategy a Diaspora Youth element. See his full intervention here.

Through this conference young entrepreneurs were able to talk about their ventures, as well as the difficulties they are facing, used to face, and the solutions that they would like to see be implemented to support their development. Celine Fabrequette concluded by saying that “the issue here is that Young entrepreneurs are not aware of the opportunities and support that are available to them, and so the way to communicate opportunities must change. It is a matter of equality and inclusion”. MEP Cecile Kyenge agreed and proposed that at the upcoming AU-EU Youth Summit, a side event be developed where youth could be made aware of all the financial support available at EU, ACP, and AU level.  Since the conference, ACP YPN submitted this idea to the Youths group organising the AU-EU Youth Summit in Abidjan.

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ACP YPN at Africa-EU CSO Summit

CSO SummitOn 11-13 July, ACP YPN took part in the Africa-EU Civil Society Forum #AfricaEUCSO held in Tunis, Tunisia. The ACP YPN delegates included Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN President and Founder, Bora Kamwanya, Parliamentary and Diaspora Relations Advisor, Aissatou Touré, Expert on Agriculture & Sustainable Development. Alongside the 80 CSO representatives there were two other representatives from Youth Organisaitons present: Karim Saafi, African Diaspora Youth Forum Europe (ADYFE) and Tina Hocevar, European Youth Forum.

Over two and a half days, the African and EU CSO representatives worked together to draw up a joint declaration, which is available here. The declaration shall be delivered to Heads of State and Government, and to African and European institutions ahead of the upcoming 5th Africa-EU Summit, in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) on 28 and 29 November 2017. They were split into thematic groups to work on five thematic clusters: (i) conflict prevention, peacebuilding and refugees; (ii) human development; (iii) sustainable future for our planet; (iv) decent work, universal social protection and (v) sustainable socio-economic development; and democratic governance and civic participation. Youth and gender were cross-cutting themes of the Forum.

On day 1, Yentyl Williams and Aissatou Touré were part of the ‘Sustainable Future for our planet’ workshop, where Yentyl was elected as co-rapporteur with Ana Kalin from the Forum for Equitable Development. Bora Kamwanya participated in the ‘Human development’ workshop, where he was also elected as rapporteur for the group. On day2, there were two main workshops in Forum. Bora Kamwanya took part in the workshop on ‘Democratic governance and civic participation’. Yentyl Williams and Aissatou Touré took part in the workshop on ‘Decent work, universal social protection and sustainable socio-economic development’. Yentyl gave specific input in relation to her recent publication on ‘Labour rights in the EU-Africa Economic Partnership Agreements‘. As rapporteurs for their groups, Yentyl and Bora presented the recommendations in the plenary session on day2.

The final declaration was drawn up and the ACP YPN delegation, alongside their youth counterparts, ensured the inclusion of several key points. These included reference to diaspora youth, and ruralisation (valorising rural livelihoods, especially vis-à-vis youth), as well as other recommendations already included in other ACP YPN advocacy (Nairobi Declaration, Future of EU-ACP relations consultation, forthcoming St. Julian’s Declaraiton and Action Plan amongst others).

Background information:

The First Africa-EU Intercontinental CSO Forum took place in Cairo, Egypt, in November 2010.

The Second Africa-EU Civil Society Forum took place in Brussels, Belgium, 23-25 October 2013, ahead of the Africa-EU Summit of April 2014.

See EU-Africa Partnership fact sheet here.

See EU-Africa partnership website here.

See euronews article and video here.

Contact & follow Yentyl Williams via LinkedIn or Twitter; Bora Kamwanya via LinkedIn; Aissatou Touré via LinkedIn

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For the second time, the African Caribbean Pacific Young Professionals Network (ACP YPN) was represented at the European Development Days (EDDs). Our ACP YPN Ambassadors advocated for youth issues on platforms with our partners: the COLEACP, the European Commission, the ACP Secretariat and the ADEPTADNEFORIM, and FTI Consulting. This was a unique opportunity for ACP YPN to interact with a wide range of experts, high-level policy officials, youth ambassadors and development policy stakeholders.

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This was an important continuation of ACP YPN’s debut at EDD16 to showcase ACP YPN’s commitment to ‘youth issues’ in line with Article 26 of the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement and SDG16 on ensuring ‘responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels’ (target 16.7).  Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN Secretary General and SDG5 Expert, highlighted that “It was a great achievement for ACP YPN to lead a strong delegation at EDD17 with two stands and three panels, as well as endless engagement across a range of issues from youth and agriculture, to mining and diaspora.

Recalling the words of Yentyl Williams, Founder & President of ACP YPN, at EDD16 remains important today, “Going forward, it is essential that ACP YPN continue to be at the forefront of key policy debates, after all, we are the generation that will inherit the legacy of today’s policies, ranging from the EU-ACP partnership to the SDG framework. Beyond the two days of EDD, we must continue to work together in an inclusive manner if we are ever going to achieve all that these agendas promise.”

The ACP YPN delegation for EDD17 included:

1.     Yentyl Williams, Founder & President, ACP YPN

2.     Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN Secretary General and Expert SDG5

3.     Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN Parliamentary and Diaspora Relations Advisor SDG16

4.     Zama Nkosi, ACP YPN Expert, Private Sector SDG17

5.     Caroline Kawria, ACP YPN Expert, Food Security SDG2

6.     Rachele Gianfanga, ACP YPN Migration & Sports Advisor SDG10

7.     June Paskalina Lacour, ACP YPN Assistant SDG16 & EDD17 Ambassador

8.     Emanuele Pallotta, ACP YPN Assistant SDG16

9.     Cyril France, ACP YPN EDD17 Ambassador 

10.  Yves-Laurent, ACP YPN Expert, Journalist

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ACP YPN on Labour provisions in EU-ACP EPAs

On 8th June 2017, Yentyl Williams, Founder and President of ACP YPN presented her new book chapter, “Labour standards in the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs): Weakening or strengthening the EU-ACP Cotonou provisions?” at the SOLIDAR Progressive Lab for Sustainable Development in the European Parliament. A copy of the book is available here.

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Abstract: Although the trade-labour nexus has received a lot of attention, the literature on the newer Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states concluded between 2014-2016 is still in its infancy. This article contributes to this literature by providing an analysis of the most recent EPAs with three African regions: the East African Community (EAC) in 2014, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2014 and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2016. The empirical investigation based on analyses of the legal texts and participatory observation in EU-ACP stakeholder meetings shows that there is clear evidence of ACP exceptionalism in the EPAs, especially vis-à-vis labour provisions. Despite the weaker trade-labour nexus in the newer agreements, the upcoming negotiations of a post-Cotonou Agreement and the existing UN Agenda 2030 framework both provide opportunities to bring labour provisions back to the table.


Contact & follow Yentyl Williams via LinkedIn or Twitter

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ACP YPN at Friends of Europe Africa summit on ‘Building resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities’

On the 6th of June Caroline Kawira ACP YPN expert on Food & Security together with a rich panel drawn from the private sector, development organizations and regional bodies like the AU, spoke at the Friends of Europe Africa summit on ‘Building resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities’. Her contribution focused on youth in agriculture. She gave her views on ways to encourage uptake and from a practioner point of view, highlighted issues which in her view are pressing issues that needs to be tackled by the enabling bodies to improve youth participation in agriculture. Land, poor governance and underdevelopment in rural areas were seen as main barriers.

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She suggested:

  • To increase development in the rural areas
  • The need to develop a practical education system
  • Urge the need for land reform (or at least ways of enabling land access by the youth)
  • Advice on the stoppage of extractive private business
  • Asked for the increased of support to youths starting up by both the private sector and venture capitalists

She concluded by stating that this would support mindset change among the Youth. You can listen to her full intervention here

Want to know more about ACP YPN’s mission and goals?

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Keep up-to-date with ACP YPN via the Website | Facebook | Twitter | Flickr|Youtube