African Union and IOM Meet Over 70 African Youths To Discuss Migration and Development

Kigali, 28 Aug 2023  - A key gathering of over 70 youths from African Union Member States has begun today in Kigali, Rwanda, kicking off a three-day Continental Youth Consultation on Migration, which is expected to come up with a declaration on youth and migration in Africa.  

The event, which takes place from August 28 to 30, aims to emphasize the voices of young people and to develop a unified approach outlining concrete ways to drive the migration and youth agenda forward across the African continent, with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director General-elect Amy Pope giving a keynote address.

IOM and the African Union Commission (AUC) have collaborated to organise this consultation, which will provide a platform for discussions centered on key themes such as the advancement of continental integration and sustainable development through initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the AU Free Movement of Persons (FMP) programme.

The Global Compact on Migration (GCM) is central to the discussion, as is the intersection of health and migration, security, resilience, and governance, the critical role of youth in addressing climate change-induced mobility and sustainable development, labour and skills mobility within the continent, as well as diaspora engagement and contributions to development. 

In her opening remarks, IOM’s Senior Regional Adviser, Sub-Saharan Africa, Aissata Kane, emphasized that migration is a matter of choice and informed decision, urging all stakeholders to guarantee safe and regular migration pathways and to protect and uphold the rights of migrants. 

“We owe it to all African youth to ensure that we are not here for ourselves, but to represent their interests; that we do not compete but collaborate; that we do not just hear but listen; and that we do not just speak but act, as underlined in the GCM,” she continued.   

Africa's population under the age of 35 numbers over 400 million, which is a strong demographic force, and with 80 per cent of migrants seeking economic and social opportunities, the Continental Youth Consultation on Migration is a pivotal moment in Africa's youth empowerment as it drives the migration agenda towards a more progressive and inclusive future.

These engagements will promote exchanges between governmental stakeholders, academic experts, and youth-led civil society organizations with the goal of developing a joint AU-IOM Declaration and Call to Action. 

“Solution-oriented dialogues present targeted opportunities for young people to contribute their expertise and innovative reflections to decision-makers with the aim of influencing positive migration governance,” Chido Cleopatra Mpenda, the African Union Youth envoy added.
“This week also offers a special surprise in the unveiling of the first cohort of African Migration Youth Ambassadors who have been selected to serve for 12 months as ambassadors under the Youth for Migration Ambassadorial Programme,” said Janice Zibusiso, representing the African Union Commission’s Women Gender and Youth Division. 

Harnessing the potential of Africa's youth has become a strategic imperative, with well-designed policies aimed at sustainable development. The African Youth Migration Ambassadorial programme will serve as a rallying point for future advocacy efforts on both the continental and global fronts, and the unveiling of youth issues and contributions to migration.

For more information please contact: Eric Mazango, or Innocent Vuga, 

SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals