Africa: Cooperation Mechanisms
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The African Development Bank (ADB) and the African Development Fund (ADF)
The ADB is a multilateral development bank whose shareholders include 53 African countries and 24 non-African countries from the Americas, Asia, and Europe. It was established in 1964 and officially began operations in 1967. The Bank Group’s primary objective is to promote sustainable economic growth in order to reduce poverty in Africa. It achieves this objective by financing a broad range of development projects and programs, many of which have young people as their primary beneficiaries.
The African Development Forum (ADF)
The African Development Forum is a multistakeholder platform for debating, discussing, and initiating concrete strategies for Africa’s development. It was established in 1999 and has been held four times with outcomes including the initiation of a program to support national information and communication technology policy formulation and implementation in Africa. In 2006, it was organized under the theme “Youth and Leadership in the 21st Century.” ADF-V is organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union in partnership with UNICEF, UNFPA, the African Development Bank, and the OIF. The decision to devote the fifth African Development Forum (ADF-V) to youth acknowledges that political stability, social solidification, and economic prosperity lie in harnessing the capacities of youth and recognizes the obvious gap between the real situation of African youth and the potential contribution youth could make to achieving development.
African Union (AU)
Founded in 1964, the African Union is the continent’s principal organization for the promotion of accelerated socioeconomic integration, with the aim of creating greater unity and solidarity among African countries and peoples. It focuses on the promotion of peace, security, and stability on the continent as a prerequisite for the implementation of the development and integration agenda of the Union. Given their demographic importance, young people are seen by the African Union as a key vehicle for implementing its objectives of peace, unity, and prosperity.
African Youth Charter
In principle, the African Youth Charter and the plan of action elaborated for its implementation were accepted by all countries that took part in the Conference of the Ministers in Charge of Youth of the African Union in 2006. Having said this, ratification has been very slow. As of June 2010, only 23 of 53 member states of the African Union have ratified the Charter, and far fewer have signed it.
African Youth Day (November 1)
The celebration of African Youth Day, observed annually on November 1, is aimed at sensitizing the population on African youth development issues as well as creating awareness about some projects of the African Union in relation to youth, e.g., the African Charter. In 2010, the theme of African Youth Day was Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.
African Youth Year (2008)
The African Union declared 2008 as African Youth Year. A declaration was issued in February 2008 (see below). The AU website provides no information concerning the events and activities that took place to commemorate African Youth Year.
Conference of the Ministers in Charge of Youth of the African Union
To date, the most important contribution of the African Union to youth policy making is that it championed the elaboration of the African Youth Charter and established the Conference of Ministers in Charge of Youth, which held its first ordinary session in May 2006 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. On that occasion the Pan African Youth Forum was also held, during which youth delegates brought their issues and concerns to the table of the African Youth Ministers. The Conference of the Ministers in Charge of Youth of the African Union issued the Addis Ababa Declaration of Youth, outlining new directions for youth policy development and implementation in Africa.
Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP)
The CPLP [Comunidade de Países Língua Portuguesa] was formed in 1996 with seven countries: Portugal, Brazil (a former colony in South America), and five former colonies in Africa: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe. East Timor joined the community in 2002 after independence. The CPLP is a bloc under construction, and the societies of the eight member nations have little knowledge of each other. One unique feature of the CPLP is that its members are linked by a common language and shared cultural features, which form a bridge among countries separated by great distances and on different continents. The CPLP has some programs relevant to youth in Africa, including its HIV/Aids Program, which is designed to help the five African member states, and the Centre for the Development of Entrepreneurial Skills that is being established in Luanda, Angola.
The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) in Africa
The OIF has a directory of youth organizations, the majority of which are located in its African member states.