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Young people are innovators and change makers – Ramaphosa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Inaugural Nelson Mandela Youth Dialogue

Young people are change makers and agents of progress, President Cyril Ramaphosa says.

“As young people, you demand to be part of decision-making and shaping a future that is yours,” said the President on Friday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Inaugural Nelson Mandela Youth Dialogue

President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Inaugural Nelson Mandela Youth Dialogue

He was speaking at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Youth Dialogue at the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, a platform for young people within the African continent to engage in constructive discussions on pressing socio-economic issues such as leadership and governance, free trade, labour migration and a just energy transition.

The dialogue brought together young people from 20 African countries including, among others, South Africa, Algeria, South Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Kenya and leaders from government, business, labour and civil society.

“You are here as youth leaders from respective countries who want to be part of the solution of Africa’s many challenges,” President Ramaphosa said.

The dialogue, he said, should be about affirming individual and collective self-worth as a people and determination to develop the continent through innovative entrepreneurship.

“It should also be about giving space and opportunity to the entrepreneurship spirit, talents and energy of Africa’s youth to take their rightful place in the regeneration of the economic fortunes of the continent.

“It should be about raising our consciousness to the endless possibility that the idea and experience of being African carries. It should be about us taking advantage of the vast, golden opportunities available in the programme of rebuilding Africa,” President Ramaphosa said.

A more humane and a just world cannot blossom without an African renaissance, without embracing African values and without a proper appreciation of African aspirations.

“The Nelson Mandela Dialogue is an engagement between young Africans on the most critical and pressing issues of our time such as youth unemployment, African trade and economic integration, entrepreneurship, sustainable development, climate change and good governance,” President Ramaphosa said.

He was grateful for the commitment by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Nelson Mandela Foundation to hold the Nelson Mandela Youth Dialogue and Ethical Leadership Programme.

“We want to start a conversation about ethical leadership, drawing on the Mandela legacy. And in doing so, we want to light a spark in young people from across our continent who aspire to lead,” President Ramaphosa said.

Women, Children and People with Disability Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said former President Nelson Mandela would have loved to see the initiative, uniting the youth across the African continent.

She said it was young people who would ensure the continent is delivered from poverty. “Africa must be the largest manufacturer and also lead in development,” she said.

Deputy Vice Chancellor of Walter Sisulu University, Rushiella Songco, emphasised the importance of universities to position themselves for Africa’s development.

“Institutions must increase the numbers doctors and academics for the development of Africa,” she said.

Plans are underway to ensure that the dialogue is held annually focusing on the topical issues concerning young people in South Africa and the African continent. – SAnews


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