Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Monday called for a visa-free Africa to allow young people to freely move and interact within the continent without restrictive requirements.
Speaking Monday, when he officially closed the YouthConnekt Africa Summit 2023 held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi, the Deputy President said the young people possessed the needed talents and motivation to free the continent from perennial challenges and spur cross-border development.
“We have tremendous confidence in our young people. In a myriad of problems in the world, we as a continent deliberately choose to put our future, and the solutions to our challenges, to our young people assembled here today and in the rest of Africa. We know in this continent, in your hands we are safe,” said the Deputy President.
The Deputy President said President William Ruto is leading efforts to make Africa a visa-free continent for Africans to spur sharing of ideas, technology and cultural exchanges among the youth.
Mr Gachagua said technology is key in driving the push to enhance interactions among Africans saying the Summit had achieved the objective of bringing young people closer together.
“We live in an age where borders are becoming more and more irrelevant. Thus, technology allows us to connect and collaborate across countries and continents. This presents a unique opportunity for the youth of Africa to rise to the occasion, to be designers of our shared future,” Mr Gachagua observed.
He said President Ruto, who officially opened the Summit on Saturday, had shown interest in why a borderless Africa was critical in ensuring a united continent.
“Dr Ruto is championing a border-less Africa by, among other things, advocating for a visa-free Continent. The theme of the Summit: “Youth Innovating a Border-less African Renaissance,” therefore, resonates deeply with Kenya,” the DP said.
The Deputy President said he had been impressed by the passion, zeal and commitment shown by the youth during the previous 2022 Summit in Kigali, Rwanda and encouraged him to plead with the organisers to let Kenya host this year’s event.
“I am grateful to the Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba and his team for organizing a highly successful event that has dignified our country,” he said.
The 6th Edition of the Summit brought together over 20,000 youth drawn from different African countries, where the participants shared ideas on innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, and even learned different skills.
Also in attendance were envoys, entrepreneurs and Africa Cabinet Ministers in charge of Youth Affairs led by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs and Sports Ababu Namwamba.
Asking the youth to be creative, Mr Gachagua advocated for making Africa a hub of innovation and creativity in order to curb unemployment and nurture talents amongst the youth. He also pitched for investments in young people and their empowerment.
“The youth are the future leaders of Africa. We have faith and trust in you. The challenges we face are vast and complex, from Climate Change and unemployment to poverty, inequality, among others. But within these challenges, lie opportunities. Opportunities for innovation, for entrepreneurship and for social change,” he stated.
He further urged the youth to align their innovation to areas of interest to partners and government.
“We will work together in championing your dreams and propelling you to full potential for a prosperous Africa,” he stated.
In his remarks, the DP lauded the African youth as a group that has embraced change in technology which presents an opportunity to address challenges such as poverty and unemployment.
“Your generation is armed with creativity, passion and advanced technology. You are well-equipped to tackle these challenges and build a better tomorrow. Take your rightful place in innovation in all sectors and spheres of leadership,” said the Deputy President.