LET US CONSIDER YOUTH AND CHILDREN AS WE UPTAKE THE MDGs – EALA SPEAKER
4/27/2012 3:50:02 PM -
ARUSHA, Tanzania, April 27, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The EALA Speaker, Rt. Hon Abdirahin Abdi is urging the EAC region and the globe to ensure issues of children and the youth come to the fore and remain central to development. Such a move he reiterates shall trigger progress towards realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Speaker made the remarks at the official opening of a seminar organized by EALA in collaboration with the Association of European Parliamentarians With Africa (AWEPA) in Nairobi today. The two day seminar (April 27-28, 2012) is themed 'Towards Parliamentary Action for Integration of Children and Youth in East African Societies'.
The Speaker remarked that unemployment and under-employment were key crises that need the immediate attention of legislators and other stakeholders.
'In Burundi for example, the youth stand at 51.1%, 14% of whom are unemployed. Statistics further reveal that only 11% of school graduates can acquire jobs in the public sector. In the Republic of Kenya, 72% of the unemployed population is below 30 years of age', Rt. Hon Abdi remarked.
Hon Abdi lauded the Partner States for enhancing Universal Primary Education and urged them to look at secondary education.
'The Republic of Uganda which was the first country in the region to initiate Universal Primary Education in 1993 has moved a notch higher and is well considering free secondary education - a move that should be replicated across the region', the Speaker said.
Hon Holger Gustafsson, the Political Co-ordinator of AWEPA noted that his organization would continue to build the capacity of legislators globally to enable them carry out their mandate more effectively.
'As children become older, they need to access the labour market to enable them progress', the AWEPA boss said. He added that the presence of youth underscored the need for training and harnessing of skills. Hon Gustafsson called for the enactment of legislation on youth and the harmonization of policies across East Africa.
The Clerk of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Mr. Zwelethu Madasa said his continental Assembly would at its global congress on the diaspora scheduled for May 21-30, 2012 consider and discuss issues of the youth.
On her part, the Deputy Speaker of the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Hon Sere Saran Sereme said the continent's population constituted over 60% of the young, terming it a potential available for Africa. However, strategies in place undermine the exploitation of the same, Hon Sereme lamented, calling for the re-engineering and adoption of new laws that protect the youth.
The Deputy Speaker noted that young people without jobs had led to chaos and social crises and it was apparent for legislators to put up policies
In attendance in the two day seminar are legislators from the regional parliaments, EALA, ECOWAS, Southern African Development Community (SADC)-Parliamentary Forum and Pan-African Parliament. Parliamentarians from Sweden and Ireland are also participating.