The Second Africa BRICS Youth Forum 2023 was a significant event, bringing together 26 countries and over 100 delegates from Africa and the BRICS nations. The forum featured a diverse range of participants, including key speakers and messages of support from prominent organizations and government officials.
The South African BRICS Youth Association (SABYA) organised the event in collaboration with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Innovation Hub.
The forum commenced with keynote addresses by esteemed individuals such as the Minister of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities, the Deputy Minister in the Presidency, and the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation. Their speeches provided valuable insights and set the tone for the discussions that followed.
Messages of support from organizations like the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), BRICS Women Business Alliance, Pan African Youth Union, and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) showcased the collaborative spirit and commitment to youth development shared by various stakeholders.
Panel discussions were held on three key topics, with experts leading the conversations. These discussions provided a platform for in-depth exploration and analysis of pertinent issues. Following the panel discussions, delegates engaged in discussions on the challenges faced and presented policy recommendations, aiming to generate actionable solutions for youth empowerment and development.
Experts agreed that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents significant opportunities for youth in Africa. By eliminating trade barriers and creating a single market, AfCFTA expands market access for young entrepreneurs and businesses, allowing them to trade goods and services across borders. This leads to job creation and employment opportunities, particularly in sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, services, and technology.
AfCFTA also promotes entrepreneurship and innovation by providing a conducive environment for startups and small businesses to thrive. Additionally, it emphasizes skills development and capacity building to meet the demands of the evolving market. Youth involvement in policy-making processes ensures their perspectives are considered, allowing them to contribute innovative ideas and shape the future of trade and economic integration in Africa. Overall, AfCFTA has the potential to empower youth, foster economic growth, and contribute to sustainable development across the continent.
In addition, forum participants outlined the main challenges ahead in the near future:
– increase awareness and education: Conduct information campaigns and capacity-building programs to enhance youth awareness and understanding of AfCFTA, its benefits, and how to participate in regional trade;
– provide financial support and resources: Establish dedicated funds and support mechanisms to provide financial resources, technical assistance, and mentorship programs for youth entrepreneurs looking to engage in regional trade;
– improve infrastructure and logistics: Invest in infrastructure development, including transportation, logistics, and digital connectivity, to facilitate the movement of goods and services across borders efficiently;
– promote inclusive growth and equal opportunities: Ensure that the benefits of AfCFTA are accessible to all regions, sectors, and marginalized groups, with targeted programs and policies to support youth from underrepresented areas;
– enhance cooperation and collaboration: Strengthen coordination among African countries and BRICS nations to share best practices, promote joint initiatives, and facilitate knowledge exchange on leveraging AfCFTA for youth empowerment and regional trade;
The Africa BRICS Youth Forum 2023 served as a platform for knowledge exchange, networking, and collaboration among young leaders from Africa and the BRICS nations. By leveraging the expertise and perspectives of participants, the forum contributed to the formulation of strategies and initiatives that can address the challenges faced by youth and enhance their opportunities for growth and success.
Photo: Second Africa BRICS Youth Forum 2023
Source: BRICS SA/TV