YouthConnekt Africa Summit 2017 Introductory Remarks by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye

Jul 21, 2017

Kigali, 21 July


Meet the Leaders—Expanding Opportunities for Youth

Abdoulaye Mar DIEYE Regional Director, UNDP Africa

Your Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda,

Honourable Ministers of Government from Rwanda and the continent,

Under-Secretary-General Kituyi,

Jack Ma,


Dear Youth Delegates and Ambassadors of the future!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am sure I speak on everyone’s behalf, when I say how grateful we all are to the government and people of Rwanda, for having hosted this YouthConnekt Africa Summit, and for the great hospitality they have so generously shown us, since we landed in this magical City of Kigali— and what a beautiful, clean and green city this is!

Mr. President,

 As I stated in my Keynote address to the Summit yesterday, and I will state again today because I believe it is worth repeating, if anyone would like to see what “Africa on the move” looks like, they should come to Rwanda. 

Mr. President, we would like to express our commendation and gratitude to you. It was your visionary leadership that provided the seeds for the YouthConnekt initiative and it is your strong leadership that has generated the impetus we are witnessing now.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our Conference has put before us a series of questions so fundamental, that they demand answers from all of us before we leave here today — how do we create, in Africa, and by 2020, some 50 million jobs, to absorb the growing labour force; and how do we give space and opportunity to unleash the creative potential of the over 220 million youth on this continent? How do transform our economies, significantly improve youth employment, and set our continent on a sturdy path to achieve the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Africa We Want!

We see in YouthConnekt Rwanda, a powerful engine that could inspire us in that journey to answer these questions.

We made the recommendation to scale it up, to a regional initiative that would cover the entire continent, with a Regional Hub here in Kigali. Therefore, I would like to reiterate the commitment of UNDP and UN sister Agencies to continue partnering with Rwanda in intensifying our support to YouthConnekt Rwanda and its roll-out to other African countries. We will provide technical and financial support to the establishment of the Regional Hub here in Kigali and the design of the YouthConnekt Africa Innovation and Empowerment Fund; and we will partner with the Government of Rwanda and the AfDB to co-host the next YouthConnekt Africa Summit.

Our Kigali deliberations were grounded in our collective determination to put a moratorium on rhetoric and respond to the call-to-action by our Youth, to give them the space and the trust so that they may fully exercise their creativity and become engaged leaders and agents of change. This is the way to go if we are to solve the nagging question of youth unemployment and build a brighter present and future for the continent.

It was visible to me that from the KCC deliberations, a new doctrine emerged, which we could call from now on, the Kigali Doctrine. The Kigali Doctrine compels us to address the issue of youth unemployment with a sense of speed and urgency, and with the imperative of practicality and results. Hence, the rationale of the amazing festival of the very tangible commitments that sprung out of our discussions.  

There is no doubt, in our mind, especially after we have seen the phenomenal results of YouthConnekt Rwanda that investing in youth is smart economics with great social and peace returns. A high octane investment to conquer the future, with the understanding that the future is now!

There is no doubt in our mind, that if from now on, we address the issue of youth unemployment, armed with the Kigali Doctrine, we will defeat the low gravity syndrome of our past youth policies and programmes.

There is no doubt in our mind that if we provide our Youth with the facilities and space they are requesting, including access to information, capital, finance and markets; and skills development; they will be the real transformers of our economies and societies.

 Let me conclude by saying that we have, here in KCC, signed an Imihigo, a Performance Contract amongst ourselves, to roll out a movement, at the continental level. Mr. President, with you as our champion, we are confident that we will deliver, concretely, on our Kigali commitments. We are positive that such a movement will lead to an exodus of our youth, not to the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, but to find the true El Dorado, which is here, on the African continent. Our collective support can help to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit, so that we can all reap the fruits of this land of opportunity, called Africa. Our youth deserve more from all of us. Let’s get to work.


I thank you, Asante sana, merci beaucoup, TURI-KUMWE!   

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