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By: Gael T. Rutembesa

It’s the official East African Community day that day 4 of the YouLead summit falls on, and the theme of the day is, Political (Government), Civic & Social Leadership.

The first panel discussion to set the course of the day was on East Africa’s Youthful Demographic Bulge and its Implications for Attaining Sustainable Development goals, which started by addressing the question: “Is the demographic bomb good or bad?” considering that the youth comprise of 60% of the East African population.

Mr. Peter Owaga, the Country Director of DSW in Tanzania made a very valid point, saying that it’s not just about strength in numbers, but also the number of opportunities available. It’s such a great advantage to have as many energetic youth engaged in developing the society, but if there are no enough opportunities to match their number, they are bound for failure.

The risk is BIG. So they should be looked at as investments,” he said.

Mr. Lubotolo contributed to the topic of investment by highlighting the importance of investing in human capital, i.e. education, trainings, and most importantly, involving the youth in activities that can boost their productivity.

“We are the ones to invest. It won’t come from outside,” Mrs. Ruth E. Elineema added.

Progressing with the discussion, Diana Ninisiima, senior program manager from DOT Tanzania said that the youth have potential, but it has to be unlocked and should have a double sided effect:

  • Having a business, to earn money and not struggle for jobs.
  • Solve problems and achieve development goals that will last and sustain themselves.

A question on how social entrepreneurship can be handled arose after, which Mr Peter Owaga addressed stating that the youth are needed in all sectors, all aspects of our development, and not just business and entrepreneurship.

So, what will the youth do after attending the YouLead summit, and learning all they have? How will they use their unique talents to achieve sustainable development goals? This will be the focus for the youth in these remaining 2 days of YouLead17.

But as Mrs. Ruth E. Elineema said about the role of leadership in helping the youth unlock their leadership,

The youth should be given the opportunity to try, since they have all the potential and the energy. They should be given the opportunity to make mistakes, to learn. Trying will put our region in a better position to develop.”


Photo by: Fahad Fuad


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