YouLead2021 Summit

The Africa Youth Leadership Summit (YouLead) was convened by the East African Community (EAC), MSTraining Centre for Development Cooperation (MS-TCDC), the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation and the East African Business Council (EABC). YouLead Summit 2021 expanded to cover an Africa-wide audience with thousands participating through virtual platforms. This year’s theme was “The Future of Africa: Creating Jobs, Feeding, and Housing the World’s Youngest Continent”. UNDP, through the Funguo Innovation Programme, co-sponsored the summit and participated in three key events, namely the Youth Enterprise Accelerator with the theme Unlocking International Growth for Young Entrepreneurs and Women, the Policy Makers and Development Partners roundtable and the Under 40 Business Leaders Forum. Further, UNDP participated in the Policy Makers and Development Partners roundtable on creating an enabling environment for Young People’s Participation in Good Governance, Leadership and Development Processes and at the Under 40 Business forum. The DPs Roundtable focused on 2 key questions: a) Usually funding youth-related activities are deficient compared to the needs of young people and are at times inaccessible to them. How are you ensuring that support for young people is enhanced? and b) What are the key programmes of your organization and what are the provisions made for the development of youths, especially in leadership, governance and development? The Panelists in this session recognized the shift in the financing landscape from the donor countries to more in-country support to government projects rooted in local strategies that are prioritized by governments. UNDP pointed out the need for young people’s involvement in Government initiatives and to demand space to be active participants in planning and financing processes. There was an emphasis on youth being strategically engaged at an ecosystem level beyond just the Governance sphere but also in social and economic and political spaces. The shift in funding implies that young people should seek opportunities in governance in all spheres, not just in the political governance space. UNDP indicated examples of projects being implemented, such at the Youth Connect, that bring young people on innovation and seek to harness partnership for development. Lastly, UNDP emphasized that mainstreaming can at times make youth issues to be lost. Hence, UNDP is making a deliberate effort to target young people through youth-led projects and programmemes. The Africa Young Women Leaders Fellowship Programme is such an example. The Under 40 Business leaders forum, another discussion that UNDP/FUNGUO took part in, focused on what can be and should be done on the enabling environment front by national governments to facilitate you-led enterprises to take full advantage of the opportunities brought about by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). FUNGUO shared what the programmeme is doing to amplify the discussions in Tanzania around the subject, and what it plans to do to work with partners to contribute to a better innovation enabling environment for innovative start-ups.