Africa – August 25 2017

Empowering young people in Africa

SOS Children’s Villages UK co-hosted a youth empowerment conference with the African Union in Addis Ababa this August – giving 150 young people from 47 African countries the opportunity to make their voices heard.

Young people face an uncertain future across the African continent, where an estimated 200 million people are between the ages of 15 and 24 – making employability a challenge at the global, regional and national levels. Empowering young people to find and create opportunities is seen as critical to the continent’s future.

The Pan-African Youth Empowerment (PAYE) Conference – held from 22-24 August 2017 – gave young people the opportunity to meet with and learn from top officials from international and Pan-African institutions, academia and corporations including Allianz, DHL, Microsoft and Coca-Cola.

The youth delegates developed a strong call to action to inspire young people, governments, non-governmental organisations and corporations, which was read out by Winnifred Johnson, a young woman from Nigeria.

Winifred said: “Despite all the problems and struggles that young people in Africa are going through, it is true that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. We believe Africa will also rise and shine powered by its young people.”


The participants will return home and share their findings, experiences and call to action with their peers. The next step is in their hands – it is a springboard for them to reach out to governments, non-governmental organisations and companies, finding ways to work together to address the challenge of youth employability.

“Today, young people across Africa face an uncertain future, a lack of opportunity and a lack of ability to realise their potential. The young people participating in this conference have set out a strong outcome statement, which calls upon all of us to take action and ensure young people can find and create the opportunities they need.” SOS Children’s Villages International CEO Norbert Meder

African Union Commissioner of Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga told delegates their message had been heard loud and clear: “My message to the young people: I am listening very clearly, I am very attentive to the outcomes. The three-day conference has given you, the youth, a voice and power to contribute to transforming challenges into opportunities. You know your potential. The three-day conference has emboldened you to realise that potential.”

For more information about the conference, visit the PAYE website.

Help more young people to realise their potential by making a donation to SOSUK today.