Youth Connekt Africa Summit

Kigali, 21 July 2017

I am very pleased to be with you here at the conclusion of this outstanding event.

I would first of all like to thank everybody who came together to make this inaugural Youth Connekt Africa conference the big success that it has been.

This includes the many young people who have travelled from near and far to participate.

A special welcome also to Jack Ma and his delegation on your first visit to Africa and to Rwanda.

For all our guests, I hope that what you have seen here of this event and of Rwanda during your time here has made you want to stay longer and come back often. You are most welcome.

We also appreciate the support of our partners in this endeavour, beginning with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Development Program, among others.

The problem of youth empowerment is urgent and difficult everywhere, and not just in Africa.

It is also not a new problem, only that we had worse challenges to deal with in the past, relating to our very survival.

But almost every country in Africa has made tremendous gains in well-being over the past generation. The question of sustaining that progress therefore imposes itself more and more.

That task will fall to you, the young people of Africa, who grew up in more favourable conditions than perhaps your parents did.

Your role begins with reminding us that what has been achieved, as meaningful and difficult as it was, is still not enough. We still have to aim higher and go farther.

We have a few things going for us, however. Africa has a lot of value to offer, beginning with our people, and you the youth.

On the continental level, the ongoing institutional reform of the African Union is one of the many good regional initiatives to increase opportunities for our people in every sector.

What is needed is focused and consistent implementation. We must also take advantage of the things we can do quickly, that require only political will.

For instance, none of the Africans in this room should have to go through the hassle of visa applications to meet, learn from, or do business with other fellow Africans.

Whatever we want as Africans for our continent, we will have to fight for it. Africa’s prosperity will be built through patient work and commitment, by us, ourselves.

African youth need to just continue to be modern African youth, nothing else. You own our collective future, through technology, entrepreneurship, and above all, our dignity.

Let me now end by thanking you very much for listening, and once again thank you for being here. I am looking forward to our conversation in the interactive session.

Again you are most welcome.