EAC Headquarters to host Regional Youth Consultations on Elections and Democracy in Africa
East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 27 August 2017:
The 2017 Regional Youth Consultations Forum in close collaboration with Regional Economic Communities( RECs) as members of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) will be held on 28th to 30th August, 2017 at the East African Community Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The overall goal of the regional youth consultations is to provide a collaborative, open and inclusive space for young people to critically and objectively reflect on the progress made so far; challenges encountered; and prospects for enhancing meaningful youth participation in Africa’s democratization processes, particularly in its electoral processes.
The forum will also provide a platform for reflection on barriers and opportunities for meaningful youth participation in electoral processes at the individual, organizational and societal levels; Improve capacity of youth-led and focused organizations /networks towards enhanced youth organizing and participation in electoral processes at local and national levels with the aim of moving from tokenistic to impact-oriented approaches; Create functional linkages between national and regional networks as well as their initiatives aimed at empowering young people to meaningfully participate in political processes in general and electoral processes in particular among others.
The three-day forum will be expected to come up with actionable recommendations grounded in a rights-based approach to youth political participation to improve individual programming of African Union (AU) Organs, and Regional Economic Communities (RECs);enhance efforts towards meaningful youth participation in political parties, government ministries, and agencies, including media.
In addition, the forum expected enhanced capacity of youth-led or -focused organisations and networks to foster young people’s participation in democratic elections and ensure accountability and transparency; as well as provide baseline information and also disseminated to facilitate sharing of best practices and lessons learned among the AU Member States.
The 2017 youth consultations themed; Enhancing Young People’s Meaningful Participation in Electoral Processes in Africa” will be convened under the auspices of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) Youth Engagement Strategy (AGA-YES), to assess young people’s participation in electoral processes in Africa.
The Secretary General of EAC Amb Liberat Mfumukeko is expected to grace the official opening session of the youth consultation on 28th August 2017.
The forum will be attended by Youth-led and oriented organizations implementing activities that are related to youth in electoral processes, programmes and activities; Prominent youth-led and -focused organizations and networks that work on issues of democratic elections and young people’s participation in electoral processes; Youth representatives from political parties, Elections Commissions, Civil Society Organization(CSOs) Non-Governmental Organizations, government and Members of Parliaments.
Selected think tanks and academic research institutions with experience in promoting youth participation in electoral processes; Selected media practitioners; and Youth focal points for and representatives of the African Governance Platform Members will also attend.
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Notes to Editor:
Over the past three decades, Africa has witnessed a commendable shift in the process of leadership change, with coup-d’états replaced with competitive elections. The continent continues to witness an increase in regular, credible and transparent elections, which have become the embodiment of Africa’s democratisation progress. Nonetheless, electoral processes are however becoming intricate, with increasing attention paid to the ‘democratic’ nature of these elections.
A concern has been the inclusivity of the electoral process particularly as it affects young people. Except for few countries, the participation of youth has been limited to voting, which in itself is relatively low when compared with other demographic groups. For instance, despite young people’s demographic strength, Africa’s youth participation in political processes, including electoral processes, is still lower than that of their elders, particularly in terms of voting.
According to a survey conducted by Afro barometer in 36 African countries between 2014 and 2015, 66% of 18-to-35-year-old respondents’ old enough to vote in the elections voted, compared to 79% of citizens above the age of 35.
In an effort to cast the light on the needs of its rapidly growing young population and to devise means of harnessing the demographic dividend, AU Heads of State and Government at the January 2016 Assembly Summit devoted the year 2017 to “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth.” In order to give effect to the AU Assembly Decision on the 2017 theme of the year, a Roadmap was developed and adopted by the AU Policy Organs.
The African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 categorically identified youth are key stakeholders in the attainment of the goal and aspirations of Agenda 2063. This is premised on the youth bulge currently experienced on the continent, with over 60% of the population under 30 years and the promise of a demographic dividend it holds if adequate investments are made in their social, economic and political agency as its long-term development vision, with the goal of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.”
Cognizant of the value young people bring to Africa’s development and democratisation process, AU recognizes young people as partners, leaders, and beneficiaries in building a democratic culture on the continent.
For more information, please contact:
Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org
About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
East African Community
EAC Close, Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
United Republic of Tanzania
Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac [at] eachq.org