Accra, 18th March, 2020 The Open Society Foundation (OSF) supports Youth Bridge Foundation  (YBF) to build a more unified and strengthened African youth front by a broadened African Youth and Governance Convergence (AYGC) constituency with the active inclusion of Lusophone African youth to enhance accountable and youth inclusive governance in Africa.

Africa’s majority (the youth) who should give momentum for the Continent’s transformation are incapacitated through alienation and continued marginalization. It’s from this perspective and in consonant with Youth Bridge Foundation’s (YBF) commitment to youth development that AYGC was initiated in 2009. AYGC runs as an all year-round leadership grooming program with an annual convergence. Through multi-faceted approaches, AYGC supports the creation of space and the preparedness of the youth for inclusion and participation.

Although YBF through the AYGC initiative has observed positive impact in the building of empowered youth through its leadership grooming program, the Foundation acknowledges an un-bridged gap of the inclusion of Lusophone and North Africa youth. When it comes to continental agenda setting and the startup scene for example, Lusophone Africa seems to be the most disconnected, primarily because of its language. In order to participate in the African or global economy, a certain level of proficiency in English and sometimes even French is required. This gap must be bridged.

A challenge YBF seeks to address with the support of OSF in the implementation of AYGC as a leadership grooming program and the building of a cohesive youth front, is to proactively engage Lusophone African youth of Angola, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe.

Recognizing the initial language barrier, YBF has over the past decade worked to consolidate its impact in Anglophone and Francopphone Africa and Diaspora youth. Having built a solid foundation and succeeded in this agenda, YBF seeks to bridge the existing Anglophone-Francophone-Lusophone gaps; through the building of a connected and empowered Africa youth front.

Although the African Youth Charter was the first legal framework in favor of youth development in the Continent, its well intended prescription for the advancement of youth participation and representation in decision making processes at local, national, regional and continental levels of governance (Article 11) is regrettably impaired by the so-called “waithood generation”.  As observed by Aleida Mendes Borges, this has rejected the traditionally understood notions of participation associated with representative democracy. A multi-stakeholder collaboration is needed to address this challenge; the support of OSF is timely.

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