From the airport to our accommodation, all we could feel was a sense of progress from a society that had successfully transitioned from a horrendous past to a present state of peace, and a secure future. We could already see the trans-generational shift away from the pain and horrors of genocide, to a hopeful younger generation.
Le Rwanda a pu se relever d’un génocide et à pu se hisser à une plus admirable en Afrique et dans le monde faisant la promotion du consommé local, valorisant les startups et les avancées technologiques.
Rwanda was able to recover from a genocide and rise to become an admirable nation in Africa and around the world by promoting local consumption, valuing startups and making notable technological advances.
Indeed, Rwanda is a noteworthy example of how purposeful leadership can be applied and inspire intentionality among people.
Tout ceci nous prouve simplement que l’avenir appartient à ce qui vont de l’avant et la jeunesse est appelé à relever un grand défi dans l’Afrique de demain.
All this just proves to us that the future belongs to those who decide to move forward, and the youth is now called upon to take up the great challenge of ensuring a better tomorrow for Africa.
Despite its rapid urban development, Kigali is a beautiful city with many hills and wonderous landscapes. The Rwandese were friendly and welcoming, and navigating the various venues where the Youth Connekt Summit was being hosted wasn’t hard at all.
Now in its 10th year, the Youth Connekt Africa summit has become Africa’s largest youth summit and operates as a pan-African platform that connects the youth for socio-economic transformation. The platform seeks to empower young people through enhancing their knowledge, experiences and skills while investing in their ideas, innovations, and initiatives.
This year’s summit kicked off at the BK Arena, and brought together a host of diverse African cultures which lit up the venue on the opening day. It was an amazing spectacle to behold; the unity in diversity, the energy among the young people, and the sense of solidarity to develop Africa were evident in every passing moment.
The beauty of African culture was on full display when everyone at the BK Arena began dancing to popular African music. This was just an appetizer for the panel sessions that followed.
The entrance of president Paul Kagame prompted a standing ovation and a chant of the phrase “MUZEHE WACU,” which means “the wise elderly one,” harmoniously followed, This also speaks to the intentional leadership of the president and the amazing progress that Rwanda has come to enjoy over the years.
The panel discussion sessions were undoutedly the highlight of the opening ceremony. In order to capture the experience and allow you to relive the moment, We will stray away from our own words for just a moment, and share a few quotes from the different panelists;
“20 years ago, at our lowest point, we dared to dream!
We worked hard and worked together to achieve what we have today!
~ Paul Kagame (President of Rwanda)
“Don’t let the older generation like me cheat you into believing that you are the leaders of tomorrow, NO! You are the leaders of today”
~ Rigathi Gachagua (Vice president of Kenya)
“There is no elevator for success, you have to take the stairs”
~ Anthony Baffoe (Ex-Ghanaian football star)
The next two days of the summit were filled with more amazing panel discussion sessions and masterclasses. What stood out for us was the potential of our continent and our countries to solve their own problems using the natural and human resources at their disposal.
Collaboration and effective benchmarking are critical, because they allow us to keep on learning from each other and improving. This was evidenced by the various exhibitions on display throughout the summit that showed solutions to different problems via amazing business products created by young people. It was also nice to share solutions from our own countries, and learn how they differed from what was being done in other countries.
We found the Youth Connekt program to be an amazing platform where young people’s voices are amplified. It was a great pleasure for us to be there and learn about all the great things our vibrant youth are doing in their communities. We got an opportunity to see the future of Africa through every young woman who was sharing their different business ideas about community transformation.
We nicknamed the summit “Marketplace,”because of the cultural exchange of knowledge and intellectual capital. It was a life-transforming event that provided invaluable lessons and insights.
Our takeaways from the summit are two fold; Our African leaders must create youth opportunities through the three Ps: policy, programmes, and partnerships. While on the other hand, the youth are in need and asking for the three Cs: a chance, capacity building, and career grooming for leadership.
As ONE champions, we took part in the program to raise our voices for critical issues and to connect with other youth leaders from different parts of Africa. Our message to the youth was that we need to direct public attention towards bringing the change we want to see in our communities. We raised the concern that unless we come together, volunteer, and stand firm in our actions, leaders will not listen to us. We are the hope and future of Africa..
Youth Connekt was also vital to raising awareness and spreading the message about ONE’s #JobNowAfrica Campaign to create decent jobs for Africans. We are grateful for the opportunity to create awareness about youth matters that are vital for the continent’s collective development and cooperation, and to get more signatures for the Jobs Now Africa Charter aimed influencing policymakers, and key stakeholders to create 15 million decent jobs in Africa
This is the message for all youths in Africa, the time is now!
Demand for a seat at the decision-making table.
Take up the opportunity to create a better Africa, today!