The Executive Director, Center for Peace Advocacy and Sustainable Development (CEPASDAfrica) and President African Transformer Institute (ATI); Igweshi Augustine has charged government at all levels to establish more measure to further cushion the impact of Covid19 on African youths
Mr. Igweshi made this charge not too long ago during a virtual International Conference on Global Impact and Covid-19 Recovery Webinar organized by United Nations Peacekeeping Forces Southeast Asia (UNPKF)
While speaking to UN stakeholders, youths and institutions across the world at the International Conference on the topic; Impact of Covid19 on African Youths and SDG Implementation Approach, Mr. Igweshi revealed that the impact of Covid-19 on African youth ranges from education, loss of job/employment to mental health and their general wellbeing.
Also he stated that the Covid19 has set the achievement of the SDGs backwards and what are needed now are government’s commitment, partnership and resilience for the achievement of the SDGs by 2030
Again, he noted that it has been estimated that about 20 million African youths will lose their jobs as a result of Covid19 and significant number of youths are currently out of school.
“The unemployment rate is currently on the rise as a result of Covid19 and Nigeria recorded about 33% unemployment rate in the last quarter of 2020 as a result of impact of Covid19. There is need for government at all levels to put measures and mechanism that will reduce the impact of Covid19 on African youths. African Union has a significant role to play by ensuring that youths are included in her Covid-19 recovery plans,” Mr. Igweshi explained.
Furthermore, while making reference on the Impact Covid-19 has made on the lives of African youths and recommendations on SDG Implementation Approach, he highlighted the following:
1. Government should strengthen and build young peoples’ resilience in driving the implementation of SDGs
2. Government should be more committed in the achievement of SDGs by 2030
3. There is need for partnership and Collaboration between the government, private sector and CSOs, NGO and CBO
4. There is need for the localization of the SDG and covid19 recovery measure to be a critical part of government plans for the next 10 years and provide more measures to cushion the impact of Covid19 on the citizens
5. Government should develop more alignment of national policy with the SDGs and identify opportunities for policy coherence and also encourage and support efforts of communities and organisations to contribute towards meeting the SDGs, and foster public participation
On the impact of Covid19 on African youth Igweshi Augustine made the following recommendations
1. Government should step up efforts to help MSMEs go digital
2. There should be a continent Response Unit by African Union to include the youth on covid19 recovering plans
3. African Union member states should provide statutory digital citizenship for young people to enable them adapt to the new Normal through digital platform for learning
4. African Union member states should provide soft loans with zero collateral for MSMEs to enable them run their business as the pandemic affected their businesses and there should be cut in taxation for youth entrepreneurs
5. African Union should provide education programming for young people with digital literacy skills to equip with them to overcome future shocks at continent and country level
6. Youth innovative response on Covid-19 should be an integral part to fight against Covid19
7. Government at all levels should set up youth recovery fund with stimulus packages and subsidize good and services for the youth in the informal sector in Africa