The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, has called on the European Union to assist African countries in dealing with youth unemployment and underemployment.
Speaking at the 6th Annual International Conference Africa Day held in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Thursday 18th May 2017, the Deputy Speaker also called for a bilateral relationship between the European Union (EU) and the Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
“After 40 years of partnership, an assessment of the impact of trade development on ACP states and future prospects of continuing relations has not led anywhere,” said Oulanyah.
“Member states at the Conference should ensure that smaller focus groups like the 6th Africa International Conference help in moving Africa forward,” he added.
At the Conference, panel sessions dealt with the issues of mobility, youth and job creation; economic and cultural networking in Africa; and Africa-EU common challenges and shared vision.
There was a focus on discussing opportunities to enrich cooperation between Africa and the EU, by mobilising and empowering young people in spheres of politics, economy and science.
Oulanyah appealed to the EU countries to assist in dealing with the issues of unemployment, underemployment and unemployability that are rampant in Africa.
He asked EU states to support programs in Africa intended at bailing the youth out of poverty, citing the Uganda Youth Livelihood Program that binds cooperatives of young people that lack capital.
The Deputy Speaker however emphasized that the long term solution to the question of youth unemployment will be solved by “the way African countries structure their policies, laws and budgets.”
“Focus must be put on proper health care, education, training and orientation. This will make youth ready for any changing situation and job market,” he said.
Oulanyah urged the European Union to redirect the framework of its cooperation with Africa saying that the current framework is designed to benefit one party (EU) more than the other (Africa).
He emphasized that the ACP-EU partnership must emphasise prosperity and security which in turn yields employment, short of which would render the partnership useless.
The Deputy Speaker further raised concerns over Europe framing its politics on the issue of migration.
“An African coming to Europe is referred to as an immigrant while a European coming to Africa is referred to as an investor,” he said.
He said that there was need for a renegotiation of the framework citing Mahatma Gandhi who freely migrated to South Africa and built ideas that enabled him change his home country, India.