Kigali, Rwanda, 11 October 2018 –Drawing from its vast experience in working with urban youth globally, UN-Habitat shared lessons learnt at the African Youth Conneckt Urban Session 2018.

Over 5,000 participants attended the inaugural UN-Habitat Urban Youth Connekt Session at the Youth Connekt Summit to share ideas on enhancing innovation, building strong partnerships, financing young entrepreneurs and developing policies that are responsive to the needs of the youth.

The session discussed how Africa’s youth innovate by adapting global solutions to local challenges and how developing new solutions is key to the social and economic advancement of Africa.

The UN-Habitat Director of the Regional Office for Africa, Mr. Naison Mutizwa-Mangiza, urged youth to take advantage of programmes designed to support them, while the Governor of Makueni County in Kenya, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, said governments must provide youth with the information they need to access opportunities. He called for auditing of youth policies to assess their impact and encouraged governments in Africa and all stakeholders to involve the youth for meaningful and sustainable progress on the continent.

“For young people to be empowered they have to be informed. Most ordinary youths miss out on opportunities because policy makers use means of communication that target only the elite youth” he said.

Panelists including youth leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators called for strong partnerships between national governments, local governments and the private sector to ensure that policies and programmes impact the livelihood of youth across the continent. The youth also called on UN-Habitat to provide strong support by promoting the inclusion of in its programmes at all stages for successful implementation of the New Urban Agenda. The panel noted that the private sector is a critical player in job creation as well mentorship of young entrepreneurs and business start-ups.