Empowering African Youth in Peace and Security: An In-depth Analysis by ACCORD


Burkina Faso's leader, Ibrahim Traoré, has just called on African youth to reclaim their countries from Western imperialism. Image from Twitter/@NjimeziChidi

ACCORD, an organization dedicated to promoting constructive dispute resolution by African peoples, has recently released a comprehensive analysis focusing on empowering the continent’s youth in the realm of peace and security. The analysis sheds light on various initiatives aimed at fostering collaboration between generations and creating an environment of tranquility.

The organization asserts that a peaceful environment requires the concerted efforts of both the young and the old. ACCORD argues that young people have a significant role to play in achieving peace and security, a role that is increasingly acknowledged in various normative and policy frameworks at continental, regional, and national levels. These frameworks emphasize the importance of youth participation in the Youth Peace and Security (YPS) agenda, particularly in conflict prevention, management, and post-conflict reconstruction.

Image from Twitter/@youthsdgssummit

The African continent is home to a substantial youth population, aged 15 to 29, comprising a significant portion of the total population. This demographic, primarily residing in developing countries, presents both challenges and opportunities for policymakers. As approximately 75% of Africa’s population is under the age of 35, harnessing the potential of this youth population is seen as essential for economic and developmental progress. However, challenges such as limited job opportunities, conflicts, and inadequate skills need to be addressed.

In light of these challenges, there has been a deliberate effort to integrate the Youth Peace and Security (YPS) agenda into peacebuilding initiatives. This involves protecting young people from the negative effects of conflicts and insecurity while promoting their active involvement in peace efforts.

ACCORD’s Initiatives

The analysis highlights the role of the African Union (AU) and Regional Economic Communities/Mechanisms (RECs/Ms) in advancing the YPS agenda. ACCORD’s contributions include the AU Youth Ambassadors for Peace (AYAP), inter-generational dialogue forums, inter-ministerial conferences on YPS, and youth capacity-building programs. These initiatives aim to empower young people and promote their active participation in peace and security efforts.

Inter-Generational Dialogue Forums

Intergenerational dialogue (IGD) plays a crucial role in promoting mutual understanding and collaboration between different generations. ACCORD’s analysis points out that IGDs provide young people with a platform to share experiences, perspectives, and knowledge, facilitating cooperation toward common goals. These dialogues have been instrumental in empowering young people to take active roles in shaping their communities and promoting peace, security, and societal cohesion.

Inter-Ministerial Conferences on YPS

Inter-ministerial conferences on YPS serve as essential platforms for governments and agencies to collaborate in progressing the YPS agenda. These conferences offer young people the opportunity to engage with different government ministries responsible for youth affairs, foreign affairs, defense, and security. By involving these ministries, young people are given a holistic platform to engage with policymakers and influence policy decisions.

Youth Capacity-Building Initiatives

ACCORD emphasizes the importance of capacity-building initiatives in enhancing youth knowledge and participation. These initiatives equip young people with the skills needed for peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and engagement in economic development. While challenges such as limited resources and the diversity of youth needs exist, capacity-building remains essential for empowering young people as agents of change.

Conclusion and Recommendations

ACCORD’s analysis concludes with recommendations for enhancing youth engagement in peace and security. These recommendations include greater synergy between youth platforms, increased awareness and sensitization, and the development of tailored National Action Plans (NAPs) on YPS. By capitalizing on the potential of Africa’s youth, ACCORD aims to contribute to a future characterized by peace, security, and stability across the continent. As initiatives continue to evolve, the discourse around youth, peace, and security gains momentum, ensuring a more inclusive and secure future for Africa.

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