Youths are at the heart of EAC integration and constitute around 80% of the population. This is why, during three years of implementing the Support to East-African Market-Driven and People-Centred Integration (SEAMPEC) project, various measures were implemented to enhance skills of youth in the region.
Specifically, EAC-GIZ supported youths’ engagement in regional trade and cross-border movement of goods and services. Activities centred around responding to youth unemployment challenges via enterprise incubation for innovation and training as well support in creating a thriving business environment with the aim of finding lasting solutions to make East Africa’s youth more competitive and access gainful employment.
SEAMPEC mainly supported youth skills development through the IIDEA, and Intra-Regional Trade Facility initiatives focused on the crucial role and participation of young people in the regional integration process – all based on the fact that without skilled youth, the fundamental principle of a people-centred and market-driven integration cannot be realized.
In particular, specific skills-related projects included amongst others: The digital market for youth cross-border trade dubbed Soko Mkonononi; the EAC Youth Employment Platform by NACOFU, developed for young people to access employment opportunities; an EAC Youth Internship App called Prokaziea; the EAC Youth Tourism Platform for skilling youth tourist operators in the region; the Tourist Guides Mentorship and Apprentices Programme for EAC women birders; an East African Performing Arts Market for young artists; the Hakuna Kulala Music Incubator for young performing artists; as well as Performance Arts by Daneteam Africa for empowering and promoting creative youth skills and talents to catalyze developmental change.
In addition to the above, SEAMPEC also facilitated inter-generational dialogue events which brought together EAC policy makers and youth representatives. Some of which were: The EAC Academia-Public-Private Partnership Forum and Exhibition – a platform for promotion of youth employability; the Youlead Summit; Africa Youth Connekt Summit; EAC Jammafest; the Juakali Trade Fair and Exhibitions; and the East Africa Youth Debates. Already, youth recommendations from the above-mentioned exchanges have been considered by policy makers at Partner States levels and are being implemented.
Additionally, SEAMPEC facilitated EAC Youth Ambassadors sensitization of cross-border agencies in an effort to raise awareness on the EAC cross-border integration as a pre-requisite for successful youth participation in the EAC integration process.
The SEAMPEC follow-on project “Support to East African Integration” will make sure to further deepen the support rendered to youth to participate in the EAC integration process in the years to come.