The African Youth Charter (AYC), is a political and legal document which serves as the strategic framework that gives direction for youth empowerment and development at continental, regional and national levels. The AYC aims to strengthen, reinforce and consolidate efforts to empower young people through meaningful youth participation and equal partnership in driving Africa’s development agenda. Overall:
The Youth Charter is a legal document to support policies, programs and actions for youth development in Africa.
The Charter refers to the rights, freedoms and duties of Young people in Africa.
The Charter defines youth as any individual between the ages of 15-35. This resolves longstanding debates about defining youth within the African context and based on Africa’s development realities.
Article 11: youth participation
- A youth have the right to be informed about their right and responsibilities
- The state must ensure that the youth participates in decision making and must foster the youth’s involvement in civic life.
- Regional activities; education, and leisure
Some common barriers the African youth faces when trying to be involved include:
- Fear of current political system: Youths wants to participate in politics, but they do not have their rights for participation protected. So, they lack interest.
- No freedom of expression: Fear to voice out opinions against or for political views, even as most Africa’s democracy are dictatorial in nature
Article 12: National youth policy
The state must implement a youth policy, consistent with universally shared values. Gender balance and inclusion of excluded persons. (Male, female, disabled)
- Zambia and Seychelles have the highest percentage of female participation in African youth politics
- Seychelles is a matriarchal country that allow for less destitutions and full women’sparticipation
- Women’s managerial skills in homes are applied at national level in Seychelles
- Seychelles government policies balances both work and personal life and allows full participation
Youth are expected to contribute to the economic development of their countries and the continent by placing their intellectual and physical abilities at its service. The African Youth Charter is a unique opportunity to unite the youth movement in Africa to have specific, and common goal that will move along the same strategic programming lines.
On ensuring that rights are fully attained, African youths have taken measures to ensure that all the rights in the AYC are ensured. Through the help of the African Union some objectives were set; objective of the African youth body include:
- To facilitate a process that strengthens effective youth participation in the decision-making.
- To facilitate effective partnerships with youth, and regional integration of Africa.
- To create an inclusive platform to share ideas and experiences, and innovative approaches that effectively contribute to regional integration.
- To establish a follow-up mechanism that supports young people as partners in the process of regional integration.