The Reform of the African Union requires a paradigm shift from Member States

The AU of the Heads of States vs the AU of the People


Mandate to Reform the African Union

The 27th African Union Summit in Kigali closed with a commitment to fast track initiatives designed to make the African Union Commission (AUC) financially independent.

African Heads of State also tasked President Paul Kagame to lead a new effort to reform the AU Commission and the Union to make them more efficient.

Welcoming the task, President Kagame said: “I think this is a clear-cut task that has been handed to us and as foot soldiers of our continent we can’t run away from responsibilities, we will be able to do that within our abilities and based on consultations with the Heads of State and Government.” However, the task that President Kagame has committed to is all but an easy one.

Predecessor of the AU, the OAU was expected to serve as an instrument or mechanism for forging unity and solidarity among African states. It was also expected to advance cooperation among countries in order to enhance and promote economic development, improve the quality of life of all Africans, encourage and make possible the peaceful settlement of disputes whilst advancing democracy. Unable to overcome numerous challenges, the OAU, otherwise commonly nicknamed “The Club” was dissolved in 2002 and replaced by the African Union, with a charter supposed to address the weaknesses of the OAU, whilst carrying on its major goals. Mwangi S. Kimeny (2016) reported, “Unfortunately, the AU seems to have inherited the OAU’s approach to the performance of its functions as evidenced by the failure of the organization to effectively and timely spearhead the peaceful resolution of destructive conflicts in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Mali”.[1]

For a number of years now, the AU has been subjected to wide criticism for its inertia, lack of inspiration, authority and weak leadership. The Ebola crisis in West Africa in 2015 and more recently the situation where, in several countries, outgoing Heads of States have manipulated national constitutions in order to extend their stay in power, causing political regression and throwing their countries into near chaos, came to comfort the public distrust towards the continental body’s ability to deliver on its mandates. To make the matter worse the AU has been debilitated by the deep financial crisis caused by the lack of financial contribution by Members States to an Organization surviving on the generosity of foreign Partners. This is compounded by an inadequate management and accountability of resources.

The call for a Reform

Reforming the AU had been an obvious conclusion that Member States had arrived at a decade ago. However, the task is all but a pleasure trip as successive Chairpersons found out. Former President Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali (2003 – 2008) attempting to assert himself in his role only managed to anger his previous fellows. Rumor even has it that he was called to order by his host reminding him that he was no longer a Head of State but an employee. Konare’s successor Jean Ping of Gabon (2008-2012) learning his lesson, did little on the Reform Agenda.

The results of a commissioned consultancy on the AUC reform remained locked in the drawers amidst rumors that drastic proposals would have risen the ire of Members States.

More recently, the current incumbent, South-African Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, elected on the expectation and the promises to deliver the long awaited reform of the Commission, has not been able to lead a similar process any far, as her initiative remained stalled by the AU oversight bodies.

Questions that President Kagame would no doubt have asked himself before committing his precious time to a Reform of the AU are the following: ……

–>> Click here to Read the full article written by Mr Bonaventure M Sodonon, International Management Consultant & Peace & Security Expert.


Governance: Why should the Sahel (and the G5 Sahel) rely on its youth to get better!

Since its creation in February 2014 by five Sahel region countries, namely Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad, the G5 Sahel is gradually materializing. The G5 Sahel or “G5S” is said to be, according to its Permanent Secretary, “an institutional framework for coordination and monitoring of regional cooperation in development and security policies”.

The G5 Sahel Community – Picture (all Copyright reserved to its author)

Although all these countries already belong to different regional communities, the G5 Sahel was easy to unite, due to an existing homogeneity between its peoples and the geostrategic position of the region which is also the nest of Youth radicalization in Africa, and thereby becoming the fertile ground for terrorist activities. Unfortunately, the region offers the facilitation to young West Africans’ migration to Europe via Mediterranean roads; not to mention that the Sahel region is experiencing latent ethnic conflicts and growing insecurity arising from several factors, including the climate change.

With such states’ fragility, looking at issues related to the demographic dividend seems to be a priority in Africa, not only to convert the strength and grip of (especially literate) young people activism for well-being into a force, but also to channel their efforts on a more comprehensive approach towards the management of public affairs at the triple level of governance, namely political, economic and social governance.

When looking for solutions towards better political governance, the guarantee of comprehensive democratic practice, the reality of changeover and transparency in elections, the promotion of the most basic civil and political rights are important subjects that could position youth as the strongest link of the society. As they volunteer, well-trained and engaged youth can help ensure that citizens’ right to vote is respected and secured.

In the area of ​​economic governance, a greater part of the resolution of issues can be devolved to young people who can help find durable solutions to the fight against economic crimes, develop the rural economy, reducing public health spending (for example), while building on their imagination, innovation and creativity.

Coming to social governance, it is possible to succeed in converting young people, who are the major social services beneficiaries, into actors, catalysts and multipliers of initiatives of great social significance, in the sense of a “self-empowerment” that can be duplicated and expanded. To do this, whether they are inside the country or in the Diaspora, youth could facilitate a transfer of competence and values ​​that convey work, patriotism, collaboration, diversity and tolerance between ethnic groups and social classes.

To achieve this, it requires, quite simply, that the young generation today, more than in the past, takes ownership of matters of major importance to the region its belongs to and assumes its responsibilities, as required by Article 26 of the African Charter on Youth. !

It is in this context that, far from big and sporadic forums whose results are yet to come, Zayrah Africa, a Youth-led and Youth-focus development agency, through its regional coordination “Zayrah Sahel”, strives to CONSTANTLY, MONTHLY mobilize young people of the Diaspora of the Sahel region, during the “Saturday of the Sahel”. The goal of this initiative is to increase the participation and contribution of young people to the governance efforts of their respective States and the Sahel community.


For its first edition scheduled for September 30th, 2017 in Dakar at the African Institute of Management (IAM), the “Saturday of the Sahel” will the discuss about: “how to harness the demographic dividend in the Sahel region in order to improve governance “. This will be an open space for debate, followed by proposals, recommendations and above all commitments of the participants to help, even at a micro level, to build better political, economic and social governance in the frame of the Charter African Association of Democracy, Elections and Governance.

At the end of every “Saturday of the Sahel”, which will bring together members of civil society organizations, academics, researchers, media, political and state authorities and youth organizations in the Sahel region and Senegal, recommendations will be shared amongst decision-makers to better capture the demographic dividend in the region in order to enhance its governance.

It is worth recalling that the topic of the discussion falls within the framework of the African Union’s theme of the year 2017, entitled “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in youth”.

Zayrah Sahel is a member of the West Civil Society and is based in Senegal. It’s part of the South Africa-based Zayrah Africa, a network present in Mozambique, Tunisia, Benin and Cameroon (through Zayrah Foundation).

For more information, please contact the Zayrah Sahel Coordinator, Mr Michael MATONGBADA, at, tel: +221 77 476 79 46.

This is an unofficial version translated from the French article.

Gouvernance: Pourquoi le Sahel (et le G5 Sahel) doit compter sur sa jeunesse pour mieux se porter!


Depuis sa création en Février 2014 par cinq États du Sahel : Burkina Faso,  Mali, Mauritanie, Niger et Tchad, le G5 Sahel se met progressivement en place. Le G5 Sahel ou « G5S » est dit être : « un cadre institutionnel de coordination et de suivi de la coopération régionale en matière de politiques de développement et de sécurité ».

Bien que tous ces pays appartiennent déjà à des ensembles régionaux différents, le G5 Sahel était facile à réunir, en fonction d’une homogénéité entre ses peuples et la position géostratégique de la région qui se veut être le nid de la radication de la jeunesse africaine favorisant ainsi le développement d’activités terroristes. La région offre malheureusement la facilitation de l’émigration des jeunes ouest africains vers l’Europe, par les routes méditerranéennes, sans oublier que le Sahel connaît des conflits ethniques latents et une insécurité grandissante née de plusieurs facteurs dont la question de la gestion d’eau, causée par les changements climatiques.

Avec une telle fragilité de ses Etats, l’examen des questions liées au dividende démographique semble devenir une priorité en Afrique pour, non seulement convertir la force et la poigne des jeunes (surtout lettrés) dans leur activisme pour un bien-être en une force ouvrière, mais aussi concentrer leurs efforts sur une approche plus globale de la gestion de la chose publique, au triple niveau de la gouvernance étatique: politique, économique et sociale.

Dans la quête des solutions pour une meilleure de gouvernance politique, la garantie de la pratique démocratique dans tout son ensemble, la réalité de l’alternance et de la transparence lors des élections, la promotion des droits civils et politiques les plus basiques sont autant de sujets qui pourraient positionner la jeunesse comme le plus fort maillon et avant-gardiste de la société. Le volontariat d’une jeunesse, si bien formée et engagée, peut aider à s’assurer que le droit de vote de tous les citoyens est respecté et sécurisé.

En matière de gouvernance économique, une plus grande part de la résolution des questions peut être dévolue à la jeunesse qui peut aider à trouver des solutions durables à la lutte contre les crimes économiques, développer l’économie rurale, renforcer l’efficacité de l’administration publique, réduire les dépenses liées à la santé publique (par exemple) tout en se basant sur leur sens d’imagination, d’innovation et de créativité.

Sur le registre de la gouvernance sociale, il est possible de réussir à convertir les jeunes, grands bénéficiaires des services sociaux de l’Etat, en acteurs, catalyseurs et leaders des initiatives de haute portée sociale, dans le sens d’une « auto-autonomisation » pouvant être dupliquée et élargie. Pour ce faire, la jeunesse de chaque Etat, qu’elle se trouve à l’intérieur du pays ou dans la Diaspora, pourrait faciliter un transfert de compétence et de valeurs qui véhiculent le travail, l’amour de la patrie, le sens de la collaboration, de la diversité et de la tolérance entre ethnies, classes et castres sociales.

Pour y arriver, il requiert, tout banalement, que la jeune génération actuelle, mieux que par le passé, s’approprie les questions d’importance majeure pour la région à laquelle elle appartient et prenne ses responsabilités, tel qu’exige l’article 26 de la Charte africaine de la Jeunesse. ! 

C’est dans ce contexte que loin des grands et sporadiques fora dont les résultats font encore attendre, Zayrah Africa, une Agence de développement créée et gérée par des jeunes africains, à travers sa coordination régionale « Zayrah Sahel », a pensé à une mobilisation CONSTANTE, MENSUELLE des jeunes de la Diaspora de la Région du Sahel, au cours des « Samedi du Sahel ». Le simple but de cette initiative est d’accroître durablement la participation et la contribution des jeunes aux efforts de gouvernance de leurs pays respectifs et de la communauté.


Pour sa première édition prévue le 30 de Septembre 2017 à Dakar à l’Institut Africain de Management (IAM), le « Samedi du Sahel » articulera les discussions autour de : « comment tirer profit du dividende démographique dans la région du Sahel pour renforcer sa gouvernance ». Ce sera une conférence – débat  suivie de propositions, de recommandations et surtout d’engagements des participants à aider, même à un niveau micro, à l’édification d’une meilleure gouvernance, tant politique, économique que sociale, au sens de la Charte Africaine de la Démocratie, des Elections et de la Gouvernance.

Ce numéro 1 des « Samedis du Sahel », qui regroupera des membres de la société civile, d’universitaires, de chercheurs, d’autorités politiques et étatiques et d’organisations de jeunesse de la région du Sahel et du Sénégal, permettra de proposer des recommandations pertinentes à l’endroit des décideurs pour une meilleure capture du dividende démographique dans la région afin de renforcer sa gouvernance.

Il faut souligner que ce sujet de discussion entre dans le cadre du thème de l’année 2017 de l’Union africaine, intitulé : « Tirer pleinement profit du dividende démographique en investissant dans la jeunesse ».

Zayrah Sahel est membre de la société civile Ouest et est basée au Sénégal. Il fait partie du réseau de Zayrah Africa basé en Afrique du Sud et présent en au Mozambique, en Tunisie, au Bénin et au Cameroun (à travers Zayrah Foundation).

Pour de plus amples informations, veuillez contacter le Coordonateur de Zayrah Sahel, Monsieur Michael MATONGBADA par email : ou par téléphone : +221 77 476 79 46.


Pour la version française, cliquez ici

AU-FLAGPursuant to the African Union Assembly Decision n°: Assembly/AU/Dec.277 (XVI) and EX.CL/Dec.539 (XVI) on the launching of African Women’s Decade (AWD) and the Fund for African Women, the AU is pleased to announce the call for the submission of project proposals under theme n°10 of the African Women Decade namely “mentoring youth (women and men) to be champions of gender equality and women’s empowerment” which content is as follows: “Energizing the African Women’s movement, and mentoring young women and men leaders and professionals, both in Africa and the Diaspora to be champions on Gender Equality and women’s empowerment”.

The implementation of the Decade themes is within the context of the integration of NEPAD into the African Union Structures and in line with Assembly Decision n° Assembly/AU/Dec.333 (XVI) to consolidate gains so far made and to achieve coherence. It also reaffirms African Women’s Decade to be the overall implementation framework for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) and the Fund for African Women’s Decade to be the vehicle for mobilizing resources in line with the Executive Council Decision EX.CL.Dec.539(XVI)(4) and calls for Development Partners support.

By this call, the Commission hereby invites members States and stakeholders to submit their project proposals on the Theme: “mentoring youth (women and men) to be champions of gender equality and women’s empowerment”. This Theme n°10 of the African Women’s Decade is seriously taken into consideration by the African Union Commission and is scheduled to be discussed at the 2017 AU Summit under the theme’ “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the Youth”.

Agenda 2063 has also given an important place to young women and men and according to its Aspiration 6, the Africa Union Commission aspires by 2063 to: “an Africa where development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African People, especially its women and youth…” This clearly shows the will and commitment of the African development actors to lay emphasis on Young women and men. This inclusive and people-centered approach can only be reached by empowering, mentoring and championing the young component of the African population. Agenda 2063 is Africa’s vision and roadmap for the fulfilment of Africa endogenous plan of transformation. Therefore, there is a need for African youth to be mentored accordingly.

The Fund will benefit young women and girls through grassroots initiatives, developed by:

  1. African Union member States;
  2. African Civil Society Organizations working on mentoring youth (women and men) to be champions of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  3. Youth groups

Proposals will be funded for one year with a ceiling up to thirty thousand dollars ($30,000).

1-Criteria for the selection of project under the “mentoring youth (women and men) to be champions of gender equality and women’s empowerment” Theme:

The projects should be based on the African Union Agenda 2063. The Agenda works for a Shared Strategic Framework for Inclusive change for a better Sustainable Development, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The project or programme should contribute to any of the following:

  1. Create environment where the African and Diaspora young women’s movement will find a platform to interact and bring paramount and valuable changes to the women condition in Africa;
  2. Sensitize and train youth about the drawbacks and consequences of exclusion, on the fact that no woman or man will be left behind or excluded, on the basis of gender;
  3. Demonstrate its commitment as People-centred and training youth about gender equality and Women’s empowerment.
  4. Engage and empower youth to be gender-sensitive in their approach for decision making, while targeting sustainable development;
  5. Boost African women’s incentives to create movements and initiatives aiming at fully empowering young women in all spheres, and promoting their social, political and economic rights, including the rights to own and inherit property, sign contracts, register and manage businesses, and accessing leadership positions;
  6. Organize the mentorship and championship activities for young rural women and men and create movements or cooperatives that will raise awareness on their rights; and help them have access to productive assets, including land, credit, inputs and financial services.

2- In addition to the above mentioned criteria, the selected projects should:

a) Set key mentoring and championing priorities at continental level, to accelerate gender equality and women’s empowerment according to Agenda 2063 vision which expects full gender parity, with women occupying at least 50% of elected public offices at all levels and half of managerial positions in the public and the private sector;

b) Promote the adoption of policies that ensure that the youth of Africa is socially, economically and politically empowered with full implementation of the African Youth Charter and subsequent Decade Plan of Action;

c) Work for the elimination of all forms of systemic inequalities, exploitation, marginalization and discrimination of young people and mainstream youth issues in all development agendas;

d) Lobby for the elimination of Youth unemployment in Africa, while guaranteeing their full access to education, training, skills and technology, to health services, jobs and economic opportunities, recreational and cultural activities as well as financial means and all necessary resources to allow them to realize their full potential;

e) Train, monitor and champion Young African women and men to be the path breakers of the African knowledge society and contribute significantly to innovation and entrepreneurship;

f) Guide Africa’s youth and strengthen their knowledge into creativity, energy and innovation for them to become the driving force behind the continent’s political, social, cultural and economic transformation;

g) Be committed to sensitize and advocate to increase access to Sexual Reproductive Health Services and Rights (SRHR) for young people in Africa;

h) Capitalize on regional youth consultations for a better understanding and ownership of Agenda 2063; i) Promote Young People’s Rights, particularly young women’s rights Towards the Attainment of Agenda 2063’,

j) Create a platform for aggregating youth concerns such as migration, employment and mobility, inclusion, diversity management and popular participation;

k) Train Young people to be active actors in governance.

Mode of application

  1. Submission of a brief and schematic Concept Note in line with the application characteristics provided (attached). The Concept Note should be in summary form to facilitate technical evaluation and provisional approval or rejection by the Steering committee. It should not exceed one page;
  1. Submission of a more detailed, well formulated project proposal, in accordance with the format provided (attached), which meets key operational, technical and procedural requirements required for the final evaluation of the proposal.

The application should include the following information:

  1. A one page synthesis of the Concept Note (attached), as follows:
  • Basic data (project name, management details, duration, geographical location, context and rationale of the project);
  • Description of the project (purpose, goals and objectives, expected outcomes, activities, indicators, beneficiaries, entities and partners);
  • A brief presentation of the implementing agency: 1) governance structures, financial management, monitoring and evaluation, and sustainability plans;
  • Names and contact details (telephone numbers, email, etc.) of signatories.
  1. Detailed project proposal: Refer to attached outline
  1. A page containing:
  • The detailed budget in dollars (US$) and equipment (available and required). Distribution: 50% for equipment, and 50% for training and general expenses. The Fund for African Women does not cover salaries.
  • Bank details of the organization;

All applications should include a letter of recommendation from national Coordination Committees or Ministries responsible for Gender and women’s Affairs. NGO’s and CSO’s, should provide a copy of the Letter of Information sent to your Ministry of women Affairs. All hard copies of applications should be sent through the respective Embassies of Member States in Ethiopia, with electronic copies submitted directly to the Commission, addressed to the Director- Women, Gender and Development Directorate, AU commission Fund for African Women, by April 15, 2017.

Kindly note that the commission will only accept proposals that adhere to the indicated theme.

This announcement will be posted on the AUC website

The detailed format in which concept notes should be submitted is available on the website in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic.

Member States and grassroots organizations with the requisite capacity, experience in networking with women’s groups, community cooperatives, the informal sector, and addressing gender inequality are encouraged to apply.

For further information or clarifications, please contact Mrs. Mahawa Kaba Wheeler, Director- Women, Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD), Tel: +251 11 518 21 12 – email:; Mr. Adoumtar Noubatour, Senior Programme Officer, Tel: +251 11 518 21 11- email: ; Mrs Fiorella De Pede, email : Tel.: +251115182115.

CLICK HERE to get all necessary documents: African Union Website


Call for applications : Debate on youth and political decision-making in Africa


Engaging young people in politics is critical to the safeguarding and strengthening of democracy worldwide. With an estimated 1.2 billion people aged 15–24 on the planet, justice and democratic legitimacy demand more than a token youth presence in parliament. People between the ages of 20 and 44 make up 57 per cent of the world’s voting age population but only 26 per cent of the world’s MPs. In addition, the presence of young people in political positions can change attitudes, eroding stereotypes about readiness or fitness to lead, while also encouraging young people to see politics as an arena open to their participation.

Application guidelines

  • Youth applicants between the ages of 18-35 are welcome to participate.
  • Applicants should submit a 300-word abstract on the theme “Youth in political decision-making in Africa” by 27 February 2017.
  • Shortlisted applicants will be contacted for a preliminary training and assessment session on 13 March. Applicants located outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will be interviewed via Skype.
  • The organizers will announce the teams on 20 March and preparations for the debate will be held on 21 March.
  • The final debate will be held on 31 March in Addis Ababa (location TBD).

 Debate procedure

After the preliminary training and assessment session on 13 March, each team, consisting of three individuals, will answer two essay questions based on a set of thematic questions or a case study; one supporting the topic and the other against. Each team will be assigned to a supervisor who will support the team on basic structure and formatting. The teams will debate one side of the argument based on their submitted essays and through the use of other sources of information. The floor will then open for a Q&A session for further discussion and clarification. After examining the essays and verbal arguments, independent evaluators will grade each team and announce the final winner.


  • The winning team will have the opportunity to participate in the upcoming Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa on 22-23 April 2017 (Accommodation and flights to Bahir Dar, Ethiopia will be covered).
  • They will also have the opportunity to publish their essay in the upcoming AfSol (African Solutions) book series, IPSS website as well as other IPSS web platforms.
  • A certificate of participation on behalf of the IPSS Alumni Network will be given to all participants.

For questions and to submit abstracts, please contact

Click here to download more on the application process.

Source: IPSS Website

Apply: African Union Regional Youth Consultation

Deadline: Friday July 15th, 2016

downloadThe African Union Department for Political Affairs, under its African Governance Architecture secretariat, is organizing four regional youth consultation forums across the continent under the theme of “African Union’s Year of Human Rights with a specific focus on the Rights of Women.” These forums aim to provide a collaborative, open and inclusive space for young people to offer input into the African Union’s 10 Year Human Rights Strategy.

Young women and men from North, West, Southern, Central and East Africa will come together to discuss various ways to contribute to the promotion of human rights on the continent. Each of the regional consultations will focus on four broad thematic areas, which will be discussed in groups. The themes include:

• Young Women’s Rights
• Governance, Peace, Security and Migration
• Inclusion, Diversity Management and Popular Participation
• Employment and Mobility

In order to be considered for participation the entire application form must be completed by Friday, July 15, 2016. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Click here to Apply

Source: AGA Platform Website

Dr. Zuma is Leaving and African Youth Hope for Zuma 2.0

Time is up for African Union Commission (AUC) Chair Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who  said she would not run again. Her term, which was entrusted to her by the African Union Heads of States in 2012, ends July 2016

We remember how tedious her election process was for Yayi Boni, former President of the Republic of Benin After so much back and forth, the AU Commission got its first ever chairwoman, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who replaced  Jean Ping.

In February 2013, I met H.E. Dr. Zuma when she paid a surprise visit to the Youth Division of the AU Commission to inquire about its service and their proposal and/or suggestions to advance youth initiatives. Imagine my shock when I heard that she was the first chairperson to show interest in youth service, wow.

This month, the African political sphere is actively in search of the next AUC chairperson and youths cannot afford to miss this opportunity to share their views and suggestions, or be part of the sustainable solution. Even though the nearly 1 billion youth are not in a position where they have a say to select candidates for this top leadership position of the organization. The young people who have witnessed the work of the Commission, under Dr. Zuma’s Leadership, wonder who amongst the candidates, will be able to carry on her legacy on Youth Agenda advancement. Moreover, the next AUC Chairperson, whose term commences in 2017, will be working towards an agenda of Harnessing the Demographic Dividend in Africa Towards the Realization of Sustainable Development Goals and AU Agenda 2063.”  The next term will not only be a new era for 2018-2021 strategic planning, but a test for the successor on youth matters.

Dr. Zuma’s Legacy on Promoting the Youth Agenda in Africa.

4-f8taIUAs an African Union Youth Volunteer (AUYV) alumni, I will share my perspective on Dr. Zuma’s legacy in the Commission through the eyes of a youth.

Dr. Zuma’s approach was to develop a well defined strategic plan that would highlight Strategic area number 5,  to  “Mainstream ( women and) youth into all AUC activities.” While partners welcomed and applauded this “first ever, well elaborated strategic plan,” (using the words of a high official in a foreign government agency), this was a major milestone for any stakeholder to accompany the AUC work and to channel resources and energy towards achieving greater results for the African Union. Over the past four years, this has resulted in increased funding for youth related programs that foster skills development for youth throughout the continent.

On May 2013, while celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the OAU, Dr. Zuma strongly advocated for an investment in African youth, more interaction between youths, heads of states and government officials, and further pledged for a Youth Desk. Few months later, she appointed a youth advisor in her office and since then, the AUC host an annual inter -generational dialogue to promote youth mentorship, candid debates and discussions between political positions holders, experts and youth from all six regions of the continent, in order to stimulate ownership of youth agenda by the involved parties.

Overall, Dr Zuma’s leadership has been instrumental in mobilizing more resources and creating additional programs for youth development namely, the AU Youth Volunteer program, the African-German Youth Initiative (exchange program) under the Youth Division, the Legal Associate Program for junior legal experts posted mostly in the Office of Legal Council, the placement of returning Young African Leaders Alumni (Mandela Washington – YALI fellows), as well as the deployment of hundreds of AU volunteers across AUC departments and Liaisons Offices throughout the continent. Most important, Dr. Zuma’s office is staffed with at least 6 youth volunteers, what an achievement!

Dr. Zuma availed herself to young people, both virtually and physically, be it through her attendance at a youth  gathering (chiefly the 2015 Inter-generational Dialogue in South Africa where she invited youth to invade political space), or through a series of tweet-chats and other online social media platforms. But it is the participants of the 10th Africa Regional Convention of Girls Guides and Girls Scout who recall the full participation of Dr. Zuma at their August 2013 event held in Lagos. Although she had a hectic schedule, she spent two days with Continental Volunteers, an organization committed to community service and young girls and women’s development.

Certainly, four years is not enough time for Dr. Zuma to implement her youth agenda. She strongly believes that education is key to unleashing a youth’s potential and innovation in the quest for a people-centered development for Africa through the Agenda 2063. Unfortunately, she may not be able to complete her project to transform the Youth Division into a full, capacitated department of the Commission before her departure.

However, Dr. Zuma’s legacy extends beyond youth issues. The power that lies in her leadership has inspired more women to run for political positions. We see that two out of the three candidates to replace her are females, ,H.E. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, current Minister of Foreign Affairs of Botswana and Dr. Wandira Kazibwe Speciosa, former Minister for Vice President of Uganda, who is currently serving as Advisor for Health and Population to President Museveni.

The Dr. Zuma 2.0 African Youth Want!

If the elections take place in Rwanda this month, there will be three candidates to choose from. In addition to H.E. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi (Bostwana) and Dr Wandira Kazibwe Speciosa (Uganda), there is a male candidate from Equatorial Guinea, Mr. Agapito Mba Mokuy . The candidates are eligible and more than capable to politically hold the position. The question is, which candidate is more youth-friendly and ready to take on the challenge of creating a better future for African youth? Who has the vision with regards to youth development in Africa? Who has more political willpower to gain stakeholders’ interest in the African Youth agenda? Can/should youth expect someone with no interest in youth issues, in his/her country, be able to work wonders at the Commission?

Zuma’s successor must have had previous work experience in youth related issues that speak for itself. African youth desire someone who will advocate for more youth-centered approaches for all of Africa’s challenges. She/he must be ready to advocate for the domestication of ALL AU policies, frameworks and binding instruments that secure social security to youth including the African Youth Charter, The Charter on Democracy, Governance and Elections, and make AUC departments, organs, programs, activities and AU decisions more youth-friendly. As a former African Union Youth Volunteer (AUYV), I would like to see the AUYVs have a standing and that budgets are allocated to programs where every young African benefits.

Whoever is elected by the AU Heads of States needs to know that there is no future for Africa without adequate investment in its youth. They would need to establish a legacy greater than Dr. Zuma’s.! We, the youth, await the next AUC chairperson who will push the youth agenda and give us The Africa Youth Want! Youth Hope for Dr. Zuma 2.0!