Based on the fact that half of South Sudan’s population being 18 years old, 72% are under 35. South Sudan is considered demographically the youngest country in Africa.
In this regard, the African Union Special Envoy on Youth, Ms. Aya Chebbi, has undertaken a solidarity visit to South Sudan, to commemorate the Africa Youth Day, from 1st to 3rd November 2020. Ms. Chebbi has engaged with youth groups, including young women and girls, government officials, civil society organisations among other stakeholders.
On November 3rd, AU Youth Envoy addressed the South Sudan National Dialogue conference, which was initiated by President Salva Kiir in 2017, with the aim to approach to solving conflicts and attaining peace sustainability in South Sudan, with the presence of the Vice President in charge of the service cluster, H.E. Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, and the Vice President for Gender sector H.E Mme. Rebecca Nyandeng Garang, in addition to several diplomats, envoys and ambassadors.
In her remarks, Ms. Aya Chebbi urged the South Sudan leaders to use the national dialogue as an opportunity to foster intergenerational co-leadership and support young people, she said: “Young people do not want to inherit systems they did not co-design, they want to co-lead with you now”.
Based on the outcomes of Ms. Chebbi’s engagement with youth in Juba and Lakes state, she expressed the critical need for greater inclusion of youth in decision making and the peace process. In her call to action, Ms. Chebbi urged South Sudan leaders for greater youth inclusion at all levels of governance in the Transitional Government of National Unity and appealed to H.E the president of South Sudan to appoint a “Presidential Advisor on Youth” to build trust between institutions and Young people.
She also encouraged ministers and governors to recruit young people into their offices “The youth of this country are not asking for a favour, they are asking for their legitimate right, their right to life, to freedom, dignity, employment, education, the rights they deserve like any other young person on this continent”
“As Special Envoy on Youth of the African Union, I stand by their demands for peace because they have endured enough war and displacement and they deserve the safe, secure and peaceful South Sudan they want” She concluded.
The chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Moussa Faki, represented by AU ambassador to South Sudan, Amb Joram Mukama Biswaro, reiterated the commitment of the continental body to support South Sudan implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). He stated “AU will support the constitution-making process and the national election at the end of the transitional process”
Prior to the National Dialogue Conference, Ms.Chebbi participated in the Inter-Ministerial Meeting held on 2nd November, which was chaired by the Vice President H.E. Rebecca Nyandeng to discuss various programs under “youth and gender cluster”. The Youth Envoy presented the Report on Greater Inclusion of African Youth in Public Service and Governance as well as advocated for the ratification of the Africa Youth Charter in South Sudan.
Within the framework of Africa Youth Month Commemoration, Ms. Chebbi also participated in the South Sudan Girl Child day celebration, where she announced the launch of South Sudan Sauti صوتي Blog and Publication. This makes South Sudan, the first country taking Sauti صوتي project to the national level to amplify the voice of young feminist women.
The Youth Envoy hosted two roundtables at both the Defy Hate Compound and the University of Juba, where youth shared their experiences especially during COVID-19 pandemic, their challenges including concerns in participating in the decision making and peace processes.
As part of the African Union theme of the year 2020, “Silencing the Guns”, the Youth Envoy held a visit to Rumbek, where voluntary disarmament has taken place in Lakes State, accompanied by the Minister of Youth Dr. Albino and Minister of Labour Hon. James Hoth Mai and the Governor and state officials. During her visit to Rumbek, she also visited young entrepreneurs, young peacebuilders and artists.
The Youth Envoy visit was a follow-up on her mission in July 2019 particularly on the ratification of the African Youth Charter and exploring modalities for the operationalization of the Youth Centre of Excellence and Innovation, as well as mobilization for peace within the framework of Youth Silencing the Guns Campaign.
Ms. Raghda Elshaloudy| Communication assistant| Office of the Youth Envoy| African Union Commission | E-mail: ElshaloudyR@africa-union.org | Addis Ababa | Ethiopia Follow Us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@african-union.org I Website: www.au.int I Addis Ababa | Ethiopia Follow Us: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram | Youtube
About the African Union Youth Envoy
Ms Aya Chebbi, is the first African Union Youth Envoy and the youngest diplomat at the African Union Commission. The AU Youth Envoy is mandated to serve as a representative of and advocate for the voices and interests of African youth to the relevant African Union decision-making bodies. Since her appointment on November 1st, 2018, the AU Youth Envoy’s office has engaged African Youth on the continent and in the diaspora to draw them towards supporting and promoting positive social change, intergenerational dialogue and concrete action for Africa’s development as underscored in Agenda 2063.
The AU Office of the Youth Envoy is a Pan-African collaborative movement with a committed AU Youth Advisory Council supporting the office mandate and spearheading regional engagement. As mandated by the chairperson, the AU Youth Envoy launched the 2019/2020 Action Plan. The OYE supports the work of the African Union, Department Human Resources, Science and Technology Department (Youth Division) on youth mainstreaming and advocacy for the implementation of progressive policies and impactful actions that promote youth participation, engagement and leadership towards the realisation of real transformation for youth development.