President Kenyatta challenges African leaders to tap into young people

President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged his African counterparts to tap into the innovative abilities of the continent’s youth as they roll out Covid-19 mitigation and recovery strategies.

The President said the youth are Africa’s biggest resource adding that young people’s creative minds and immense energy can be utilized to boost Coronavirus response measures.

“I also wish to reiterate that the biggest resource at our disposal is our own people and especially the youth.

“Indeed, we need to harness the digital revolution and innovation witnessed during this pandemic as a catalyst for post COVID-19 economic revival, and which is key in creation of jobs for our youth,” President Kenyatta said.

The President spoke last evening at State House, Nairobi during the 5th virtual meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly of the African Union (AU).

The meeting convened by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who is the current Chairperson of the African Union, was also attended by Chairpersons of the African Union Regional Economic Communities (AU RECs).

President Kenyatta told the meeting held to assess the effectiveness of the joint continental strategy on Covid-19 as well as receive a progress report from the AU Covid-19 Special Envoys that cooperation among African countries has helped slow down the spread of Coronavirus on the continent.

“I am happy to note that the quick action by the Chair, coupled with the solidarity and concerted efforts demonstrated by the AU Member States, AU RECS, Regional Mechanisms, African Business Leaders and the Private Sector, have so far slowed down the spread of the virus and averted a full blown catastrophe in Africa,” he said.

The Kenyan Head of State revisited the recent Inter-Sessional Summit of the Organization of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), which he hosted in his capacity as the President-in-Office of the institution, saying the meeting helped consolidate the developing world’s voice on Covid-19 response and recovery.

“I encourage us to continue using these kind of platforms to elevate our position in the global arena, in articulating critical issues in relation to transcending the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly, on addressing the debilitating debt burden and its effects on the socio-economic wellbeing of our nations,” President Kenyatta said.

The AU Covid-19 Special Envoys panel was constituted by the AU Bureau on 12th April this year and comprises of Zimbabwean businessman and philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa, Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Ivorian banker Tidjane Thiam.

Other members of the panel, whose mandate is to advance Africa’s Covid-19 agenda in multilateral fora, mobilise resources for Coronavirus response and expand Africa’s access to Covid-19 response supplies in the competitive global marketplace, are former President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka and Prof Mbaya Kakwenda of the Democratic Republic of Congo.