Use technology to help Africa achieve SDGs and not sow hate, UN’s Amina Mahommed tells youth

Use technology to help Africa achieve SDGs and not sow hate, UN’s Amina Mahommed tells youth

youth2Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, February 25, 2020 (ECA) – Amina Mohammed, the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, on Monday interacted with hundreds of youth from across the African continent at a youth engagement event where she told them to use technology effectively to help the continent achieve the sustainable development goals and not to foster hate and division.

Ms. Mohammed, who is in Zimbabwe to attend a number of meetings, including the sixth African Forum for Sustainable Development, said today’s youth had more tools to use in their quest for a better future than those of yesteryear. These include gadgets like mobile phones.

“Use your phones not to sow hatred and division but to bring us together to achieve the sustainable development goals,” she said, adding the youth should take their future seriously and work hard to ensure no-one controlled their narrative.

The UN Deputy Chief urged the youth to use science, technology and innovation for change.

“You are young. It’s your time, not tomorrow. Use your youth power for it’s your future to define,” the UN Deputy Chief told the youth from across the continent who earlier shared their desire for their governments to enact inclusive policies; eliminate conflicts and poverty; create the much-needed jobs; act against climate change; promote gender parity; give the youth opportunities to participate in decision-making processes; facilitate and fund innovation hubs, among others.

“What I have heard here today is inspiring. You have given me more energy to go back and fight the good fight,” Ms. Mohammed said as she promised the youth that she would take their concerns and suggestions on how to move the continent to the next level, with youth involvement, to the continent’s leaders.

Among the youth on the panel was Ms. Aya Chebbi, the African Union Youth Envoy, who highlighted youth perspectives on UN-AU collaboration.

While welcoming the UN-AU Framework on peace and security and other collaborative mechanisms, she called for a more visible youth component “to guide our work.”

In the ensuing discussion, speakers highlighted, inter alia, the importance of institutionalizing “generational co-leadership” to ensure a genuine transition to the younger generation, as well including young people in the issue-based coalitions.

Asked by Ms. Mohammed how they saw the future, the majority of the youth were optimistic that it was bright while a minority was pessimistic, saying nothing was likely to change.

The engagement is part of various discussion to mark the UN’s 75th anniversary in 2020.

Through these conversations, the UN aims to build a global vision of 2045 – its centenary, increase understanding of the threats to that future, and support enhanced international cooperation to realise that vision.

The discussion was held under the theme; UN@75 – The Future is Now: African Youth Engagement for the Decade of Action.

Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
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