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Adolescents and youth are at the heart of UNFPA’s Strategic Plan 2022-2025 and as the UN’s lead agency on youth, the organization has always placed high importance on working for and with youth to ensure that they are enabled to fulfil their full potential. At the continental level in Africa, this has included advocacy and mobilization that led to the adoption of the African Youth Charter in 2006, the drive towards ratification of the Charter by various countries and the call for the adoption of comprehensive national level youth policies that respond to the urgent and long term needs of adolescents and youth and enables them to participate in an ever-evolving world in a competitive manner. This includes issues around adolescents and youth empowerment, human rights, access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, education and skills development, employment and entrepreneurship among others.

The UNFPA Representation Office to the AU and ECA has been working closely with the AUC Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology – Youth Division as well as various stakeholders including Member States, civil society including youth-led organizations, other UN Agencies and continental organizations towards ensuring a strong representation of the youth voice in all processes within the AU and ECA. The Liaison Office also coordinates with UNFPA Regional Offices in Africa as well as relevant divisions in New York to ensure issues related to youth remain a high priority on the agenda of African leaders. This includes the devotion of the year 2017 to “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth” and its attendant Roadmap which UNFPA Offices are helping to implement at country and sub-regional levels.