URBAN YOUTH COUNCILS And the transition to sustainable cities and territories in African local governments

Africa is a young continent with 70% of its population as young people, yet with only a 1.5% representation in parliaments. This gap clearly shows how insufficient the role played by young people is, when it comes to decision-making.

Examples from African cities, such as Nairobi, where 60% of the population are young people living in slums which occupy only 5% of the city territory, with poor access to education, health, and other basic needs, proves that policy makers should be prioritizing young people much more than they are currently doing.

Youth city councils are one of the best responses, and are already being implemented in a number of countries. These are youth entities that empower urban youth participation in important city governance processes to make sure that they have a voice in decisions that affect them. It is crucial that local government decision makers give space to young people to address their problems from their own perspective, propose and act on solutions that work better for them.

“Young people are the greatest resource Africa has. They should be, and should feel, included socially, economically and politically. Most importantly, their active participation is needed in the civic initiatives,” said panellist Wambui KAHARA, Kenya Youth Representative at the UN.

Members of the panel were:

• Intissar Kherigi, Researcher
• Oualid Alissaoui, Vice President of Moroccan Local Councils Network
• Cllr Mg Mhlongo, Mayor of uMhlathuze, South Africa
• Wambui Kahara, Kenya Youth Representative at the UN