The International Youth Day, established by the United Nations, was first celebrated in 1998. Subsequently the Day has been marked on 12 August every year. Since its inception, it has been feted in diverse ways around the world to highlight the contributions of youth to their societies. This year, the Day is celebrated under the theme- Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward. There is no gainsaying of the fact the youth play very important role in the development of any society.
In fact every society is a reflection of the youth it was made up. Their qualities such as dynamism, energy, initiatives etc. are generally recognized and must, at anytime, be used in all endeavors aimed at the advancement of their societies.
In Africa where 65% of the total populations are below the age of 35 years and 35% are between 15 and 35 years; it is incumbent on the leaders to accord the utmost importance to the resolution of the issues concerning them. This situation is, yet, another compelling reason why Africa must be integrated socio-economically and politically in order to find collective and concerted solutions to this important matter. It is clear that no single African country can, alone and independently, surmount the problems affecting the young people. The urgency of African integration is, also, connected to the fact that every year millions of young people join the already sutured labor market.
The current African situation characterized by poverty, illiteracy, diseases, unemployment etc. constitutes a serious source of despairs and disillusionments among the young people pushing them to leave the shores or move within the continent to seek greener pastures elsewhere. This migration of the youth is not without its daily cohort of disasters including loss of lives.
We call on African countries to open their borders to allow the free movement of African people on their own soil and permit other African students to have access to their educational institutions without any hindrance;
We call on our member and other African youth organizations to mark this day by among others to create awareness on the problems confronting the young people and the society at large, imbibe in their members the spirits of voluntarism, solidarity and sacrifice etc.; Let Africans, particularly the young, to know that their continent can developed only through their own efforts.
We demand as a matter of urgency the ratification of the African Youth Charter by all African Governments.
Long live International Youth Day!
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