A population of 1.2 billion, 41% urban population and a growing number of youth amongst its population; this is Africa. From these and many other attributes of Africa, it is crystal clear that a lot has to be done in order to move Africa forward.
Africa Talks Jobs is a continental conference that took place at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 30th October to the first of November 2017. The theme of the three day conference which also occurred to be a pre-event to the 5th AU-EU Summit was “Equipping the Youth with Adaptive Education and Skills for Employment”. Organizers of the conference were the African Union Commission (AUC), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Business Africa. The event witnessed the presence of various African Thinkers and policy advocates to push forward the notion of entrepreneurship and employments. From the conference’s colorful proceedings, each and every hour of the conference could be labelled an hour of the moment.
Elegant opening remarks were done by Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor who is the African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology. She is widely known for her discerning speeches which render maximum encouragement. Among the speakers were His Excellency Ranieri Sabatucci who is the Ambassador and Head of European Union Delegation to the African Union, NEPAD CEO Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki and AUC Chairperson His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat who later joined the event on the Africa Youth Day conference coincidence.
The pertinent role of the African business community in fostering youth employment and entrepreneurship found a special focus at the conference. Tangible recommendations on ways to involve the business community in skills development, education and employment promotion were discussed. Take home lessons were revolving on fostering entrepreneurship and employability. One of the thought-provoking take home lessons was the fact that “A dream doesn’t become a reality through magic, it takes hard work”, from Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor.
Numerous discussion panels were held with the topics including new skills demand in Africa, engagement of the business community to make a real difference and fostering entrepreneurship in youth. These discussions saw people from different parts of Africa and abroad collaborating to give solutions in order to propel Africa forward. An excellent treatment was done for the youth as Africa is realising that the future depends on the youth of today.
The event also beheld the existence of educational institutions developing and implementing approaches and strategies for fostering employability and entrepreneurship of graduates jointly with the business community. Examples of such institutions include the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) and the African Union Commission initiated Pan African University (PAU).
The conference ended with an open exhibition with different organisations showcasing their products and services. From the overall outcome of the conference, one would agree with maximum confidence that this is the right direction for achieving “the Africa we want”.