Young African women and girls call on the AU to harness their potential


More than 50 young women and girls from 14 African countries gathered for a special high level intergenerational dialogue during the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa to deliver a statement on the future they want. The event which was organized by the World YWCA with the support of PMNCH; UN Women and the Nike Foundation, gave the young women and girls an opportunity to engage with government leaders, heads of multilateral and non-governmental organizations and representatives from the private sector.

In their statement entitled ‘The Future Young Women and Girls Want’, the young women and girls urged African leaders to take strong actions and develop concrete solutions to allow the continent to harness the potential of its demographic dividend. The statement called on African leaders to consider priorities of Africa’s youthful demography as they determine the African Union’s common position for the post 2015 development agenda. Focusing on education, social and economic development, health, agriculture and climate justice, the statement offered specific prescriptions under each topic and urged leaders to harness the potential of African women and girls by including them in the decision-making process.

His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria in his response , voiced his solidarity with the young women and girls, as did Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka , Executive Director, UN Women who affirmed that women and girls can overcome gender-based violence and become leaders.

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, General Secretary of the World YWCA in her closing statement said, “Girls and young women are the future of Africa, and can lead the continent’s renaissance – but they must be given the opportunity to do so. We hope that the direct engagement of girls and young women with leaders will show their courage, determination and vision.”