SVNP 2019 CONFERENCE ABIDJAN, COTE D'IVOIRE
DATE: 18 July 2019
The Southern Voices Network for Peace (SNVP) 2019 Conference was held in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, from the 15 - 18 July 2019, under the auspices of the Wilson Center Africa Program, Washington D.C. USA.
The theme of the conference was Youth and Peace building in Africa. The SVNP is a network of 23 African think tanks, research and academic institutions working in the area of peace and security in Africa.
As part of the conference, there was a two-day public forum, which engaged Africa’s youth from Cote D’Ivoire and neighboring countries. Presentations were made at the public forum followed by very insightful and interactive dialogue between the public, youth and network members on the role of the youth as agents of positive change in peacebuilding in Africa.
Dr Emmanuel Owusu-Sekyere, Chief Research Specialist - Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery program, HSRC, delivered a presentation on Africa’s Youth Dividend, Implications for Peace and Stability on the continent, on Tuesday 16 July 2019. Dr Sekyere’s presentation illustrated the exploding youth population in Africa, factors driving the narrative that Africa was about to reap a demographic dividend, the meaning of a demographic dividend and factors under which such dividends could be realized. He then presented primary and secondary data evidence on the reality of Africa’s youth, how far the continent is from realizing such a dividend, the frustration that could breed and the instability that could emerge thereof if the challenges are not rapidly addressed. Dr Sekyere then ended his presentation with policy options available to the African policy maker in addressing the identified challenges of peace and stability in Africa and the role the youth could play as agents of positive change.
The conference also involved a working visit to the offices of the African Development Bank, and a strategic closing plenary to finalise the network’s work plan and M&E framework for the this fiscal year.