Youth delegates of the African Youth and Governance Convergence (AYGC) are appealing to Africa Union member-states to support the development and improvement of indigenous appropriate agriculture technologies.
The group added that to boost growth of the agricultural sector and ensure food security, there is a need to promote climate-smart techniques and user-friendly digital systems which are inclusive and accessible in the agro-business value chain.
They made this call after the 14th African Youth and Governance Convergence held at the Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Centre, under the theme ‘Harnessing Technology and Digital Innovation to Advance Africa’s Youth Development Agenda’, which included youth delegates from 20 African countries and the Diaspora.
They further asked the AU member-states to be consistent with Sustainable Development Goal 17 – partnerships for the goals – and also “harness digital technologies to support the creation of coordinated national and transnational youth-focused partnerships or cooperatives and exchanges in the agro-business value chain under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”.
“The AU member-states should harness digital technologies to create information banks, market space, and access to both local and international agro-technologies in the agriculture value-chain,” they added in a communique.
On education, the youths urged that the member-states must consider, as a matter of urgency, the implementation of an affordable hybrid educational system that takes cognisance of varying learning needs and infrastructure to increase accessibility at all levels.
They charged African governments, the private sector and academia to invest adequately and equitably in offline educational resources and infrastructure for rural communities to enhance access to quality education.
“We encourage the AU member-states to exchange experiences to promote youth-led National Service Schemes to develop volunteerism and make available to deprived communities skilled and specialised personnel to teach.
“We also recommend that they consciously harness and promote digital technologies in Technical Education and Vocational Training (TEVT) programming at all levels, to both promote efficiency and make TVET attractive for the youth. The member-states must prioritise cyber security measures and public sensitisation on the consequences of digital technologies in digital education systems,” they said.
On health, the group indicated that developing the needed infrastructure to implement and report on telehealth programmes and education for various health care professionals – physicians, clinical assistants, nurses, and social workers – to expand the field of telehealth in both urban and rural communities is very crucial.
Given that technology and digital innovation have opened up new possibilities for ingenuity in a wide range of domains, and that the online penetration rate in Africa is very high, youth skills, creativity and overall potential in digital technologies must be harnessed.
Online penetration in Africa is measured at 66 percent, with the number of Internet users set to increase to around 600 million in 2022 and projected to be 700 million by 2025.
“We implore the AU member-states to prioritise digital technologies as an important wheel to advance quality and equitable education for the empowerment of all young persons – without any geographical, gender or any form of disability discrimination. We call on the private sector, civil society and other interest groups to support the research, design and application of digital technologies to complement the AU member-states in their climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts,” they intimated.