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Commonwealth Youth Leaders Tell Heads of Government what they Need Most

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
4:42 pm

President Paul Kagame speaks during the intergenerational meeting in Kigali, this morning

Representative of the Commonwealth youth who operate under the Commonwealth Youth Council have been given an opportunity to table before Commonwealth senior officials and heads of government the challenges that need common attention.

During the 7th Intergenerational Dialogue that was hosted by President Paul Kagame and attended by among others Prime Minister of Canada Justin Tredeau and Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland, the youth representatives poured their hearts.

Kim Allen, Commonwealth Youth Council Chair spoke first and said the youth in commonwealth are estimated to 1.2 billion and they appreciate a platform that they are being given to speak and put forward their challenges for the attention of the heads of government.

He mentioned the challenge of lack of resources that hinders the youth development and pleaded for continued support.

Christabel Derby Commonwealth Youth forum deputy chair followed him and presented the issue even clearer.

She presented a number of questions that needs answers.

“How can employment opportunities be provided for the expanding youth population, how can Africa ensure that it does not lose its youth to extra continental migration or extremism, fleeing instability,” she asked.

“What do African leaders need to do to reconnect with young largest constituencies?”

In her views, “the youth of Commonwealth want to take charge of our future and we can do that with your support by creating an enabling environment for the youth of Commonwealth.”

In her turn Famida Faiza, Asia Regional Youth Council representative said:

“We want our future to be sustainable, free from violence, free from poverty and free from any kind of worry the young people ever have to think off.”

Officials were listening and indeed, they showed that they understand clearly the point of the youth.

President Paul Kagame was appreciative for these representatives who understand what hunts the youth at large.

“It is clear all the youth have the mastery of challenges we all face together. It is clear the whole world especially the youth face problems of climate change, unemployment, access to skills, to finance, to technologies…all these are things we ought to pay attention to,” Kagame said.

“Working together is the first thing; together as commonwealth, together as youth and the old because there are things that cut across.”

Rwanda may not pretend that they don’t know youth grievances because the youth make a big percentage of the population.

In Rwanda, 71% of the population are youth aged 30 years and below.

“We have an idea of what these problems are, but we are happy to work together with Commonwealth country members, be it the youth or the old,” Kagame said.


Justin Trudeau in her turn said: “When we gather in meetings like these and the youth join, we nod our heads saying these are the leaders of tomorrow. We want you to be the leaders you want to day.”

He further said: “We are not asking you the things you can say; the things you can do are what the world needs, what Commonwealth needs.”

He said they need the youth acting, but this supposes that that they empower the youth as much as possible

When she took the floor, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland was but appreciative to the youth who represent others in Commonwealth.

She started with Rwanda’s strive towards the youth’s cause and said:  “What we have seen in Rwanda is not just a dream; we have seen a dream come true,” she said.

Her credits went to President Kagame who, in two decades, “transformed Rwanda  and transformed the prospects of the young people.”

“I want to tell my young leaders that I am proud of you,” she said.

“I want to tell to each one of you how profound I am proud of you and how much love and affection I have for each of you because you today, have spoken, not for yourself but you have spoken for the billion and more young people who could not be here.”

She said all their voices were heard,

“Today is a time to think and re-imagine what our world could be. You are shaping it for us,” Scotland said.

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