2012 Ibrahim Forum to focus on African youth

Mo Ibrahim Ibrahim ForumIbrahim said the Forum will recognise "the great potential of African youth". (Image source: Mo Ibrahim Foundation) The 2012 Ibrahim Forum, scheduled to take place from 9-11 November in Dakar, Senegal, will focus on Africa's burgeoning youth population and highlight the opportunities presented by this growth


The Mo Ibrahim Foundation said that the Forum would bring together leading figures from across Africa and beyond to determine how best to engage the continent’s most valuable resource - its youth.

Members of African civil society, the private sector, governments, multilateral and regional institutions, key partners from the international community and a range of young Africans engaged in innovative work will be among those attending the three-day event.

Dr Mo Ibrahim, founder and chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said, “We have chosen this year's topic in recognition of the great potential of African youth and the role they played in the transformative political events of last year, and must continue to play if we are to collectively realise our potential. We hope the Forum can play a role in ensuring that the aspirations of our youth are met.”

The forum will form the central part of the Foundation’s annual Governance Weekend, which will also feature a public event and cultural celebration. The event will follow the release of the 2012 Ibrahim Index of African Governance and the announcement of the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, taking place on 15 October 2012.

One of the core themes of the event will by defining the term ‘youth’. The African Union, regional economic communities, individual countries and the United Nations all define youth using different age parameters. The Foundation will look beyond the numbers to define youth as the stage of transition between childhood and adulthood, which will encompass the period during which people seek to complete their education, create households and establish families and careers.

With Africa emerging as the next global economic powerhouse, there will be a huge increase in the number of professional positions that need to be filled. The quality of governance across the continent, particularly in the sphere of education, will determine whether these positions are ultimately occupied by young Africans or expatriates, the Foundation claimed.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of young people in Africa are currently under-employed or forced to seek vulnerable employment, its research showed. Formalising opportunities and ensuring minimum standards at work are, and will increasingly be, a core concern for African governments, it added.

Health, defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being rather than merely the absence of infirmity, is a key priority area for young Africans. Determining how many young people there are and where they are located is essential for ensuring meaningful delivery of healthcare services. The challenge for governments is to ensure that young Africans are able to access the services required to fulfil their potential.

The political events of 2011 highlighted the frustrations of young people across the continent while also showcasing their strength and the achievements they are capable of driving, the Foundation said. Although African youth are increasingly disengaged with formal political processes they present a powerful force for change. Governments have a large and current opportunity to harness this energy towards constructive engagement or risk further disenfranchising young people from formal means of participation, it asserted.

“The Forum has become a key annual event that gathers a range of influential partners. We are delighted to be able to convene this group with the addition this year of a diverse array of informed and inspired young people. I am excited by this opportunity to work with, and listen to, the next generation of African leadership,” Ibrahim added.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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