It is a great opportunity to offer a synopsis of 2012 Model AU Summit Theme: “Boosting Intra-Africa trade through Youth Entrepreneurship.” Despite Africa’s lingering challenging, we as young people remain highly enthusiastic about boosting our trade through entrepreneurship. African Youth are the entrepreneurs of the future.
The question at the moment is: ‘What do youth of Africa know about being entrepreneurs and boosting Intra-Africa trade?’ Our constant curiosity about the world around us, hunger to pursue a dream, ability to create, willingness to take risks, capacity to think great thoughts and unbridled enthusiasm for national development add up to our uniqueness of being great entrepreneurs. My perspective of Africa trade connotes the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one nation to another by getting something valuable from the buyer, in the process benefit Africans and the international business communities.
At the 2012 Model AU Summit on 25th May 2012 in Accra, delegates are expected to make extensive research on the theme to contribute towards the final deceleration and communiqué for the summit. The objective is to make possible discussion between non-governmental organizations and governments on subjects from all over Africa concerning decisions on Intra-Africa Trade Through Youth Entrepreneurship and programs on African youth development.
The MAUS Commission is working towards an aim of focusing the summit on solutions to the various impediments that hamper intra-African trade. These impediments among others are inefficient transit regimes and border crossings procedures for goods, services and people; poor implementation of regional integration commitments. We shall prioritize solutions to the differences and uncertainty of having access to internal and external markets in Africa. Discussions on domestic agenda will be highly prioritized. Delegates and Officials are expected to make research extensively, finding new solutions and bringing onboard ideas by ensuring that African our Governments and the International community focus on fostering regional integration and boosting intra-regional trade in Africa. Subsequently, our focus is to find a way forward, making sure that African youth champion the harsh challenges of entrepreneurship and Intra-Africa trade.
During the Summit, delegations shall serve on unlimited committees following the Specialized Technical Committees that are composed of Ministers or senior officials responsible for sectors falling within their respective areas of competence of the African Union. There shall be four committees during the Session: Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs; Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters; Committee on Transport, Communications and Committee on Tourism and Peace and Security Council.
Currently, the honorable President of the Republic of Ghana, John Evans Atta Mills, at the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, on the theme: “Boosting Intra African Trade” said any attempts to initiate moves to boost trade within the Continent should first consider the youth and create opportunities for them to have gainful employment. He said the youth were the continent’s greatest resource and the welfare of the youth must be paramount to any trade mechanisms.
President Mills called on African leaders to ensure that trade initiatives were better planned and coordinated for greater success.
He said the discussion on boosting intra-African trade was timely and opportune, and Africa could not continue to sit on the sidelines and watch. The President said: “We have to take the giant steps that others have taken, to boost trade within our countries,” because it is fundamental to the growth and prosperity of the continent.
I am highly convinced that participants at the 2nd Model AU Summit in Ghana will show the world that Africa is the home of Africans, and that the youth of today are highly intelligent, innovative and productive. Members of their delegations are expected to act as Diplomats following the code of ethic at the summit. Again, I encourage accepted delegates and officials to put on a Pan-African Spirit. Contributions during simulations at the Summit must be done with enthusiasm, passion and confidence. The world will be watching and witnessing young men and women of Africa engaging themselves in great discussions that concerns generations.
I read recently in an article titled, Youth Unemployment: Challenges & Opportunities in Economic Development, that, ‘Almost half of Africa’s population is under 25; about 75% is under the age of 35. It is estimated that by 2050, Africa will account for 29% of all people aged 15 to 24. This is about 348 million of the total 1.2 billion persons globally. Young make up 37% of the working-age population in Africa, but 60% of the unemployed.’ Whatever the conditions are, greatness lies in the Youth of Africa. We must encourage ourselves to unleash our creativity by demanding governments to chose the right policies, right investments and making us a priority. They must build the right institutions and support the youth to engage in trade, IT and entrepreneurship.
Conclusively, officials and delegates must seek to find answer to the following questions at the end of the Model AU Summit: How do we break the barriers to trade in Africa? How do we promote trade amongst youth entrepreneurs? How do we get funds for business start -ups. What financial tools exist to help Business start –ups? What effective tools are available to promote trade in transport communication and Tourism? How do we use ICT particularly innovation to boost Entrepreneurship to promote trade? Can we suggest ways and means to promote Trade through ICT?
God bless Africa!
JOSEPH M D JOHNSON (MR.)
HEAD OF SECRETARIAT | MAUS 2012 COMMISSION