Johannesburg, September 28, 2018 - “The unborn generation and the youth will be in charge of taking over the transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. So, you as the youth, remain responsible for the implementation of the Agenda 2063 vision,” said Ms Lebogang Mawelela from the University of Johannesburg.
Ms Mawelela was addressing students during the Agenda 2063 dialogue and advocacy session organised by the NEPAD Agency’s Communication and Knowledge Management teams, with the University of Johannesburg School of Tourism and Hospitality.
As part of NEPAD Agency’s collaboration with, and outreach to university students, the session was organised to orient students on Agenda 2063 and the work of the Agency in Africa. It also presented students with the opportunity to analyse Africa’s vision for transformation, while at the same time expressing their own aspirations for ‘The Africa We Want.’
“In the past, NEPAD Agency has conducted study visits for students from the University of Witwatersrand, the University of Pretoria and the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Our last engagement with the University of Johannesburg was at our Africa Day celebrations in May this year,” Mwanja Ng’anjo, from NEPAD Agency’s Communication Unit said in her introductory remarks.
Ms Ng’anjo spoke on the role of NEPAD Agency in implementing Agenda 2063, adding that the dialogue session will not only give opportunity for further engagement with the students, but also deepen the organisation’s communication outreach, advocacy and knowledge-sharing collaboration with the University.
Students were also reminded by the University of Johannesburg’s Head of Partnerships and Events, Ms Lebohang Mokhomatha,
that the NEPAD Agency will continue to collaborate with the university on various initiatives in terms of broadening awareness of the continent’s transformation agenda for greater buy-in.
NEPAD Agency representatives from different programmes provided the students with more detailed information on the Agency’s role in the implementation of Agenda 2063 through its various programmes and interventions on the continent.
Abiola Shomang from the Knowledge Management unit gave an outline of Agenda 2063 (its aspirations, goals and flagship programmes), and illustrated how NEPAD Agency’s footprint in Africa delivers on the continent’s vision through tangible interventions and impact.
Dr Janet Byaruhanga, Senior Programme Officer for Public Health spoke on the different NEPAD Agency programmes that touch on health, including the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation, the African Science Technology and Innovation Indicators and the TB project. She also highlighted the various research initiatives that the organisation is involved in.
“Infrastructure development is a means that allows us to achieve the integration that is outlined in the Agenda 2063 Vision,” said Dr Towela Nyirenda-Jere, Principal Programme Officer in the Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Programme. She further engaged the students on Africa’s progress towards integration.
Tourism adviser, Vincent Oparah’s talk on skills and tourism also appealed to the students, particularly those in the field of tourism and hospitality. Fruitful deliberations were held with regards the potential of the tourism industry in Africa as a catalyst to economic and social development. The students were also invited to apply for the “Innovative ideas on Tourism in Africa” competition.
The students acknowledged the crucial role that the Agenda 2063 vision will play in uniting Africa.
“We also need the NEPAD Agency to do more on implementing the fifth aspiration of Agenda 2063, as the celebration of who we are as Africans continues to be a challenge within the continent, since we are still strangers with one another,” one student commented.
The session ended with all the students and staff holding hands and committing themselves to be part of those who promote African unity through Agenda 2063, by forming a ‘Cape to Cairo chain for one Africa, one continent.’
Future outreach collaborations between the University of Johannesburg and NEPAD Agency will include ‘connective conversation’ dialogues and various student public relations activities.