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Addis Ababa-Ethiopia, 3-4 July 2017: 29th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly, remembering Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin The Acting Executive Director of the UNFPA Dr. Natalia Kanem was invited by H.E. Prof. Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union to attend the 29th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 3-4 July 2017.

The context of this visit was first, the contribution of UNFPA to AU Member States on the AU theme of the year: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth” and second, the loss of Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA in June 2017.

In his speech during the opening ceremony, the AU Chair said: “Dr. Babatunde Osotimehim (...) was brutally taken away from us. He contributed significantly, through his engagement and exemplary leadership in awakening the international community on the importance of the demographic dividend towards achieving sustainable development. He worked hard so that the African Union’s Roadmap regarding this theme would be a tangible reality. “ The role played by UNFPA was acknowledged by African leaders and other stakeholders as the message on the Demographic Dividend was loud and clear. AU Head of States are indeed calling for implementation of strategies to harness the Demographic Dividend, to join efforts to provide a peaceful environment for youth enabling them to be competitive in the professional market.