By Ian Zvoma, News Editor
THE PAN African Parliament (PAP) is harnessing the youth demographic dividend to ensure the full participation of Africans in the economic development and integration of the continent in line with the founding principles of the institution.
Zimbabwean legislators, Honourable Tatenda Mavetera and Honourable Stars Mathe, who are part of the five legislators representing the country in the PAP, are involved in key decision-making processes that are set to transform the institution into a vehicle of inclusive development on the continent.
A key target is harnessing the youth demographic dividend amid a consensus that young people have a strategic role to play not in the future but now.
“One thing that we have realised is that in Agenda 2063 it is quite clear that they talk of the youth demographic dividend, and they are saying for us to be able to achieve the Africa that we want, we need to ensure that we harness the demographic dividend of the youth. So, within that, what we have managed to do as the youth caucus, we have tried to make sure that at least now in line with the international parliamentary union’s mantra.
“We also need to ensure that the youth get into Parliament as well. It is an agenda that we are also setting as Pan African Parliament in involving the young people so that also get into governance issues,” said Honourable Tatenda Mavetera, PAP Youth Committee member.
In the same vein, there is an appreciation that the objectives cannot be achieved without a clear understanding of the historical background.
Honourable Stars Mathe, PAP Education Committee member said, “What we were talking about in our committee as education committee here in Pan African Parliament is to do with Heritage as it is part of education. We understand and we are seeing it very well that the children in Africa have no knowledge of their history.”
“So, we are therefore planning to visit all countries and see their heritage places and then make sure that they are included in the curriculum.”
The general agreement among the PAP legislators is for the continent to invest in technology while also tapping into innovative ideas among youths as alluded to by newly sworn-in Tanzanian Legislator Hon Toufiq Turky.
“Us as Tanzania, we are coming and we want to make sure we give our kids the priority of technology, science and innovation…I am going to advocate for technology, science and education which can transform Africa into competing with the rest of the blocks in the world” he said.
The Pan African Parliament’s focus on the youth demographic dividend comes 9at a time when the latest statistics reveal that Africa’s population under the age of 35 represents almost a billion people which is above 22 per cent of the World’s total youth population.