The African Union’s (AU) Youth for Peace (Y4P) Africa Program was inaugurated in September 2018 as a concrete step towards mainstreaming the youth into Africa’s peace and security discourse and practice. In essence, the Program was set up to realise existing provisions on youth, peace and security (YPS). Prominent among them were the African Youth Charter (AYC),
which expressly recognises the important role of youth in promoting peace and security in Africa, and the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2250.1
Notably, the Program’s priorities were set in consultation with youth and representatives of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution (RMs) that attended the inaugural meeting.
Four of these priorities were drawn from the main hindrances to the ability of youth and their networks to optimise their contributions to peace and security. The priorities are: finalise a continental framework to facilitate meaningful youth participation in peace and security; change the predominantly negative and false narrative that ‘youth’ is synonymous with trouble; build youth capacity and optimise their contributions to peace and security; and publicise the positive role and contributions of youth to peace and security on the continent. The Y4P Africa Program has included these four issues in its priorities with notable results.