2ND SADC YOUTH FORUM by Mrs. Maggie Mwape (Zambia) the Co-Chair of Southern Africa Youth Forum (SAYoF-SADC)
14 August 2020, Mozambique
The representative of SADC Secretariat: Honourable Dr. Maxwell Parakokwa, AU Youth Envoy Her Excellency Aya Chebbi, Representative of the Member States of SADC, SADC-CNGO Executive Director Dr. Glenn Farred, National Youth Councils Representatives, the SAYoF-SADC-Regional Executive and Regional Secretariat, SAYoF Country Directors, Our Partners, 2NDSADC Youth Forum Committee Members, Representatives from all Regional Organisations, Youth Organisations, Young People from Africa and other Regions, Members of the Business, the Church, the Trade Unions, CSOs Representatives and Honourable Participants of the 2ND SADC Youth Forum, all Protocols observed.
Today we are meeting on the final day of the SADC Youth Forum which started on 12 August, a very special day in the world; the International Youth Day. But on a sad note; Tuesday 11th of August we lost one of our young leaders from the Kingdom of Lesotho, Ms. Mamohau Thetsane, she was SAYoF Country Director for Lesotho, at the time of her sudden death; she was mentoring the young SADC Youth Parliamentarians in Lesotho. She passed away on her birthday. May her soul rest in peace and our condolence to the family, friends, and the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Ladies and Gentlemen; the Southern Africa Youth Forum (SAYoF-SADC), is the primary convener of the SADC Youth Forum which starts with the SADC Youth Parliament. SAYoF is an official coordinating body for youth and youth organizations in the SADC region, youth representative in the SADC-CNGO, the Africa Focal Point in United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY), and appointed by the Africa Union (AU) to be part of the Africa Youth Front on Covid-19 a high-level policy and advocacy framework by the Africa Union (AU) for young people to co-lead Africa’s response to Covid-19.
The 2nd SADC Youth Forum came at a time when the world is grappling with a Corona-virus pandemic hence this year’s 2nd SADC Youth Forum which was scheduled for Mozambique, has been held virtually. As noted by the theme for our 2020 Forum; Catalysing Youth Agency in Regional Processes: Our Future Starts Today; the young people from 16 SADC Countries, other African Countries, and partners around the world have shown us that; young people are indeed drivers and conveyers of change. The discussions were enriching, the rich panels, the vibrant young Parliamentarians who proffered solutions on the theme, “Born into Debt; Young People’s Future Under Threat”, not forgetting our young Artists and the SADC Youth Forum Committees that started work before this successful Forum. Indeed, young people, we are amazing, the region is in great hands.
This year’s Forum had key issues under discussion that ranges from: Peace and Security, Climate Change and Environment, Governance, Political Inclusion, Youth Policy, and Leadership, Debt, Gender Justice and Women’s Rights, Disability, Pan-Africanism and Heritage, Health, and Covid-19, and Education Science and Technology. All these discussions will shape our way forward in advocacy points and engagement with the regional bodies, stakeholders, member states, youth organizations, young people, and partners.
After the forum, the work will start; to make sure the recommendations bear fruits, we invite young people to take a leading role in your various countries to make sure your voice is heard, we also invite the Member States of SADC to value sustainable inclusion of youth in all aspects of the political economy. This Forum has also recommended a separate statement on events happening in Zimbabwe, it shall be issued separately in line with SADC Protocols and Instruments that seek to foster Peace, Unity respect for the dignity of people among others.
Lastly, let me thank you all for being with us in the three-day journey towards real youth participation, I thank the Media houses around SADC for extensively covering our Forum. I would like to also give a remarkable thank you to our Development Partners for the 2020 SADC Youth Forum: Action Aid International, Wits Business School, CAPSI, GIZ, AGYI, Africa Union Youth Division, Office of the Youth Envoy, Southern Africa Anti-Corruption Network (SAACON), and the SADC-CNGO which the SADC Youth Forum falls under.
Young people in the region; let us continue to have our eyes on the developmental ball, complement our governments in national and regional development by taking a leading role since our Future Starts Today.
I thank you!