On 12 August, the East African Community in collaboration with East African Youth Network (EAYN), and with support from German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and Plan International (Plan MEESA), commemorated the International Youth Day 2022 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The 2022 International Youth Day held under the theme “Intergenerational Solidarity: Strengthening Youth Engagement in the EAC Integration Process” brought together EAYN members, representatives of the Arusha City Council, Apex Bodies of the Regional Dialogue Committee and Youth Associations in the region among others.
Addressing the youth, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo highlighted that within the EAC, the youth form a critical part of the population as they constitute over 68% of the total population or approximately 140 million people. “It is therefore important for young people to be involved and to participate in the issues that will form an integral part of the future of this region,” noted Hon. Bazivamo. He pointed out that youth participation in EAC integration is provided for under Article 120 (c) of the EAC Treaty which envisages the adoption of a common approach for the participation of youth in the integration process through education, training and mainstreaming across EAC policies, programmes and projects as one of the strategic interventions towards the realization of a fully integrated Community. “I am glad to report that that we now have the East African Youth Network, an umbrella body for Youth led and youth focused organisations, which has seven active chapters in all the Partner States,” said the DSG. He challenged the youth to explore the opportunities beyond borders and develop businesses that will tap the growing regional markets especially in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
Speaking on behalf of Mrs. Godje Bialluch, the Coordinator of the GIZ Support to the EAC Integration Process, Mrs. Joyce Kevin Abalo Kimaro, not that without embracing the youth, inclusive regional integration, economic empowerment, productivity and bridging the digital divide in the region could not be achieved. "As GIZ, we focus our support on responding to youth unemployment especially through digital skills training, upskilling and capacity building around entrepreneurship and innovation transfer for young people in East Africa," noted Ms. Kimaro. She urged the EAC Partner States to develop stronger link of the education sector with the private sector to promote youth employability.
On his part, Mr. Jarc Tusiime, the Regional Coordinator of EAYN, said that Community’s population was among the youngest in the world with over 60% below the age of 35 years. He defined youth as the greatest resource in the region and urged Partner States to step up and utilize the immense opportunities that are readily available in the region in the fields of tourism, energy, agriculture and ICT, amongst other sectors. Mr. Tusiime urged youth in the EAC to boldly step forward and take charge of their future by investing in strategic, constructive and participatory leadership, adding that this would enable them to be the drivers of integration in the region.