Co-creating solutions

Bridging the gap and reaching out to African youth

By Lalaina Fatratra Andriamasinoro & Binta Saley Souley
Photo 1
UNICEF Niger/2019/Binta Saley Souley

03 May 2019

Under the theme “Africa unite for youth: Bridging the gap and reaching out to African youth”, the second Pan African Forum brought together over 400 young people from across the continent at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 24thto 27thof April 2019. It seeks to foster new approaches towards addressing the multifaceted challenges confronting the youth on the continent. 

Recognizing the burgeoning youth population on the African continent, and the necessity to implement new approaches to solving existing problems, the forum seeks to embolden stakeholders to consider new perspectives, test new ideas and scale up promising practices across the continent. 

With support from UNICEF, delegates from Niger actively participated to the launch of “the 1 million by 2021 Initiative” that aims to reach millions of African youth from across the continent with opportunities and interventions in the key areas of Employment, Entrepreneurship, Education and Engagement (4E’s), which will accelerate socioeconomic development on the continent. 

The initiative builds upon the progress Africa is making in improving capacities through education and skills development; creating conducive environments for young people; and ensuring they are meaningfully engaged in the development agenda of the continent.

ITU Pictures
ITU Pictures
Latifa Salissou Hassane was among the guest speakers at the event celebrating the Girls in ICT Day 2019, jointly organized by the African Union Commission and the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

“I see this forum as an ecosystem that allows us to meet other young Africans and discuss the future of Africa. We want to tackle problems that affect the continent and bring solutions to them. Before the forum, I was excited and curious to know the issues affecting the continent and the solutions that would come up. Today, I am certainly more excited than ever because of the knowledge, the energy, the motivation that have been shared around,” said Salissou Hassane Latifa from Niger.

Development partners, private sector, institutions of higher learning and the civil societies were in attendance to engage with the youth and pledge their support for the initiative. The expectation is that it will embolden various stakeholders to develop creative ideas and help build an ecosystem of efficiencies across the continent in furtherance of youth development.

UNICEF-supported participants to the second Pan African Forum

© Binta Saley Souley
UNICEF Niger/2019/Binta Saley Souley

Salissou Hassane Latifa, 23: She is a Master’s student in Software Engineering at the Higher School of Telecommunications in Niamey. She started and currently runs her own start-up called, InnovELLE, which focuses on web development, social ICT tools, girls’ empowerment, and trainings for the vulnerable children. She is the latest Ms Geek Africa winner in 2018 and the winner of the national competition e-Takara in 2017. Her winning design is an app that helps communication between people caring for accident victims and the emergency services and allows medical staff to advise on basic first aid before they arrive at the scene. 

Seydou Gnali Ousman, 23:Heis the winner of the 2018 national competition e-Takara. He created a mobile application, called e-Bani, a device connected to smartphone that allows to digitally detect the presence of malaria in a non-invasive way. UNICEF is currently supporting the incubation of his project in Niamey through the start-up innovation center called CIPMEN. 

Ekhizi Amadou Mariama22: She is the second laureate of the 2018 national competition e-Takara. She created an application called Warn Africa For Us (WAFU), a digital project that aims to improve the quality of health services across Africa. UNICEF is currently supporting the incubation of her project in Niamey through the start-up innovation center called CIPMEN.