The report, titled Greater Inclusion of African Youth in Public Service and Governance, was launched on International Youth Day, 12 August 2020,. This report is the result of a partnership between the African Leadership Institute’s Project Pakati and the African Union Office of the Youth Envoy and was funded by the Ford Foundation.
In May 2020, we hosted a workshop with our African Union Youth Envoy Office partner titled The Greater Inclusion of African Youth in Public Service and Governance. The workshop engaged with policymakers, government officials and young leaders around best practices and lessons from selected progressive policies aimed at enhancing youth inclusion in governance in Africa. The outputs of that workshop and other engagements with pertinent stakeholders are captured in this report.
The focus of this report, however, is less on making the self-evident case for the need for young people to operate in governance and the policy realm. The focus, rather, is on how progress can be accelerated and how African Union member states can achieve greater youth inclusion, given that the African Youth Charter of 2006, which enshrines the rights, duties and freedoms of African youth especially their participation in decision-making processes, has still not been fully implemented.
Added to that, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency of the need for more inclusive governance going forward, with young Africans being at the fore of generating solutions and innovations. Unfortunately, policymakers are not harnessing their skills. In the spirit of fast-tracking reforms, this report is practical in its recommendations, and encourages countries to learn from each other, not to duplicate efforts and to avoid pitfalls.
It shares some progressive and successful youth-inclusive best practices on the African continent as a basis for other countries to replicate. Practical policies for greater youth inclusion in governance are thus presented in this report under the following four thematic categories:
- Theme 1: Lowering political and economic barriers to formal political participation
- Theme 2: Fostering intergenerational learning in public service
- Theme 3: Formalising roles for independent, young technocrats
- Theme 4: Institutionalising means of youth civic engagement
Each thematic area has an illustrative case study, in which a policy or approach has been implemented with great promise and or tangibly successful outcomes in an African country. It is important to note that the case studies do not present an exhaustive catalogue of the progress on the continent with regards to youth inclusion in governance but were selected based on available data as well as consultations with relevant parties both during and after the aforementioned workshop.
Theme 1 is illustrated by Yiaga Africa’s #NotTooYoungToRun movement, that championed the Age Reduction Bill in Nigeria, and resulted in the reduction of age limits for running for office.
Theme 2 is well demonstrated by Rwanda, which has a structured youth internship programme that institutionalizes drawing on a pool of skilled young people and creating a pipeline of young public servants. At relatively low cost, this provides great exposure to young graduates to begin to understand how governance works.
For Theme 3, the cases of Special Advisory roles in Nigeria and Namibia illustrate how governments can develop a pathway to bring in young technocrats into the policy realm.
Finally, Theme 4 presents the interesting case of Morocco, in which civic youth engagement has been institutionalized through a parallel youth government, which shadows the national government. Following focused discussions with pertinent stakeholders, other practical recommendations for the greater inclusion of African youth in public service and governance were presented and include:
- Adopt an inter-generational co-leadership approach across governance structures
- Develop an enabling environment that prepares youth to enter the public service
- Build platforms for youth political voices and contributions
- Establish accountability mechanisms to ensure reforms that can outlive political will
These key learnings, insights and policies will be shared virtually in the presentation of the report, alongside an engaging panel with key stakeholders on August 12th at 14:00 (GMT+3). The panel discussion will be an inter-generational dialogue between government stakeholders to discuss on the theme: Intersection between Youth Advocacy and Political will to drive Youth Inclusion in Governance.
A recording of the Zoom Launch of the Report is at the AFLI YouTube Channel, or watch it here:
Portuguese translation of the Report
For a Portuguese translation of the report: Greater Inclusion of African Youth in Public Service and Governance, please click on the button below. Para obter uma tradução em português do relatório: Maior Inclusão da Juventude Africana no Serviço Público e Governança, por favor clique no botão abaixo:
French translation of the Report
For a translation in French of the report: Greater Inclusion of African Youth in Public Service and Governance, please click on the button below. Pour une traduction française du rapport: Meilleure Inclusion da la Jeunesse Africaine dans l’Administration Publique et la Gouvernance, veuillez cliquer sur le bouton ci-dessous: