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As part of her 60-day learning tour to 9 African countries to listen to the views of young people to inform policy making, the Africa Union (AU) Chairperson’s Youth Envoy recently held a town hall with young people in Ghana. Several issues concerning young people came up during the public engagement, including: livelihood, education, digital inclusion, climate change, and adolescent sexual and reproductive health.

Welcome remarks were given by the UNFPA Ghana country Representative a.i., Mr. Barnabas Yisa. He emphasized that we cannot secure sustainable development without assuring young people of their future: ‘The future of young people is now and UNFPA Ghana will continue to support the young people of Ghana to obtain the best.’

Ms. Chido Cleopatra Mpemba, the AU Youth Envoy, stated that: “We, as young people, have so much in common, we are faced with the same issues on the continent over and over again. We have to take a stand together and we need to unite, if we are going to deliver and advocate. Let us build the Africa we want together.”

During the open dialogue, young people from all over Ghana spoke about both the challenges and solutions they see in the lives of young people today. Lucky Agbavor, a Child Labour Advocate with ILO, highlighted the high amount of graduates who are unemployed and suggested more focus on youth laws assuring internships and vocational training as a way of solving this challenge. Caesar Kaba Kogoziga, a young leader representative from the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), highlighted that in order to ensure reproductive health rights, we have to equip young people with requisite information.

The AU Youth Envoy ended the day by stating that most of the topics that came up during the day were interlinked, stating the need for increased collaboration by youth coalitions across all the areas. She assured all present that it is very important for the AU Commission to work on the ground with the youth groups and leaders, to make sure there is collaboration. In closing, she thanked everyone for making the day a success: “It is a success for young people and Africa that we will move forward with these best practices.”