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The United Nations and Youth in Africa

The UN Development Assistance Framework organizes the in-country programs of agencies in terms of their specific mandates. But despite recent attempts of the various UN agencies active in African countries to “deliver as one,” real common programming between UN agencies is still largely not the case. Although there are some regional interventions serving youth in several countries (such as the Africa Youth Alliance [see below]), there is no “one-stop shop” providing an overview of the UN’s efforts regarding youth across the African continent. Nevertheless, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Africa Portal www.undp.org/africa provides access to information about UN actions in general, through country offices and Pan African programs, including specific youth-related activities where they exist. For the most part, youth remains an “invisible” category—being among the beneficiaries of cross-sectoral programs (MDGs, UNAIDS) and a variety of country programs. Only some UN agencies have specific programs targeting youth and children (e.g., UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund) and these may differ from country to country. Where a country office has put in place a UN Theme Group on Youth, youth can gain more visibility. One highlight for Africa as a good practice in the field of youth in the UN System is in Botswana, which has a UN Theme Group on HIV/AIDS and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Youth Voices: Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Ethiopia

While the World Bank website affirms that there are Youth Voices Groups in Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, the WB country office websites have no information concerning the activities of these groups.