Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has asked member states to address youth vulnerability amidst the high unemployment and limited livelihood opportunities.
The IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu says that the young people are particularly vulnerable to being mobilized into destructive occupations such as ethnic and politically motivated violence, criminal enterprises and radicalization into violent extremism.
He was speaking on Thursday at the launch of the IGAD Youth Forum for Peace Agenda at Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel in Entebbe to the youths from IGAD member states of Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Sudan.
According to Gebeyehu, youths are willing and making a significant contribution to enhancing resilience to shocks, instigating political change, and triggering economic reforms.
He says young people also drive social transformation and safeguard the environment through various innovative methods and approaches, but on the other hand, the potential of young people can be exploited to deliver negative outcomes for peace and security.
“In the context of high levels of youth unemployment and limited livelihood opportunities, young people are particularly vulnerable to being mobilized into destructive occupations such as ethnic and politically-motivated violence, criminal enterprises and radicalization into violent extremism.” He says.
Gebeyehu says that the forum will provide a path for the youths to hold dialogue, interact with decision-makers, and influence national policies that have a direct bearing on the Peace, Security Stability and Development of our region.
Siraj Fegessa, the IGAD Peace and Security Division Director said that youths can be frustrated by policies, but the key is peaceful ways of expressing one’s self.
Magdi Ahmed from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sudan, the current chair of IGAD says that the launch coincides with the second anniversary of the revolution that brought down the previous Sudan regime.
He says youth were the backbone of this revolution, and there is a need for youth in the IGAD region to be inspired by this revolution in many ways, firstly to be inspired by the Peaceful nature of the Sudan Revolution, to be inspired by the values that the Sudanese youth presented with the slogan as Freedom, Peace and Justice, and these youths are not positive but game-changers.
He says the youths need to invest in early warning and early signs of conflicts. “Our experience in South Sudan clearly shows that as conflicts drag on, they become more complex, devastating, and difficult to solve. We need our youths to give priority to the current conflicts in the member states” he said.
The Sudan revolution of 11 April 2019 saw a strongman, Omar al -Bashir overthrown by professionals including teachers, doctors and engineers.
Nakiwala Kiwyingi, the Minister of State for Youth and Children’s Affairs hailed the Ugandan Government for prioritizing peace over all things, she says that peace comes with opportunities, and member states should invest in sports, music, dance and innovation which is key in peace building.