By Goodluck Ikiebe
Ahead of the Commonwealth Youth and Students’ Summit for the African region scheduled to hold in Abuja from 7th to 11th May 2023, the Head of Social Policy of Commonwealth Secretariat, Mr Layne Robinson, has commended the Nigerian Government for its continued commitment to youth development.
Mr Robinson, who gave the commendation during the pre-summit meeting held at the Nigerian Embassy in the United Kingdom on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Youth Network Leaders Summit, thanked Nigeria for offering to host the Commonwealth Youth Secretariat in Abuja as well as Commonwealth Youth and Students Summit for the African Region.
The pre-summit meeting, which had in attendance members of the Summit taskforce and Youth network leaders from 54 Commonwealth countries aims to bring together Youth and students to amplify their voices and contribute meaningfully to Youth Development in the areas of entrepreneurship, education and digital divide.
Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Sunday Dare, said Nigeria was ready to host the young people of the Commonwealth, stating that, “Although the event is being hosted by the Nigerian Government, the ownership of the events belongs to the youth.”
He explained that “the thematic areas chosen by the youth task force are apt for this post covid era that has cast a shadow on decent jobs and wealth creation for young peope as we know it.”
The Minister, who was represented by his Special Assistant on Youth and ICT, Ann Kemi Areola, reassured the youth of Nigeria’s commitment to youth development in Africa and informed that Abuja looks forward to hosting them.
Mr Benjamin Fraser, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Students Association, said the Summit will provide a great opportunity for the youth and students in Africa to network and partner with youth and students organisations.
“This offer by the Government of Nigeria is huge, and the Commonwealth Students Association are incredibly grateful.
According to him, It is important to emphasize more on implementing the outcome of this Summit because the thematic areas, which are; entrepreneurship, digital education, and decolonization of education curricular are very relevant to the yearnings of the youth and students in Africa.”
Also speaking, Christabel Derby, the Deputy Chairperson on Inclusion in the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) said, “the CYC appreciates the support to host its secretariat by the Nigerian Government at last year’s Commonwealth Youth Ministerial taskforce meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda.
Meanwhile, the programme manager
and Youth Adviser of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Sushi Ram, has emphasised the need to ensure proper planning and strategy
as he reiterated the need for the youth task force to commence necessary activities within strict timelines in order to achieve the desired objectives from the summit in the weeks to come.
The summit, which will be hosted by the Nigerian Government in collaboration with the Commonwealth Youth Council, Commonwealth Students Association and Pan African Youth Union is expected to draw participants from the national youth and students organisations from 21 Commonwealth member countries in Africa.