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African youth take the lead in finding solution to sustainable development

posted 19 Jan 2012, 05:25 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 19 Jan 2012, 05:26 ]

Hundreds of African youths from more than 30 Francophone countries gather in Niger's Capital Niamey for the International Francophone Forum, with the aim of encouraging young people to take interest in green employment, ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, in June in Rio de Janeiro.

NIAMEY, NIGER (JANUARY 16, 2012) (REUTERS) - Hundreds of youths from French speaking countries in Africa came together this week in Niger's capital, Niamey for the International Forum of Francophonie or group of French speaking countries, under the theme of "green employment".

The conference, which runs from January 16-20, aims at encouraging young people to take interest in green employment -- jobs that contribute to the preservation of the environment, ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, in June in Rio de Janeiro.

With various experts in agriculture, energy, water, biotechnologies and IT at the conference, organisers hope that more young people will develop an interest in green employment and use that to combat poverty.

"The Francophone youth, in particular the African youth are the most in need to liberate themselves from poverty, from vulnerability, and have to take part in this universal task. The African youth have the enthusiasm and courage. Today, here, the youth have to bring out their skills, and set goals that will contribute towards their hopes and common dreams," said Abdou Diouf, General Secretary for the International Organisation of the Francophonie.

Through meetings, workshops and exhibitions, participants are given a platform where they can exchange ideas and come up with solutions that will go towards finding solutions on sustainable development on the continent.

"With the involvement of the international organisation of the Francophonie and the Nigerien authorities, we can hope that during this forum, the projects that we have to present in the next five days, will go towards allowing the youth to realise their projects," said Ali Oumarou, president of Niger's youth council.

The conference also provides an avenue for young entrepreneurs to exhibit their products and business proposals, in the hopes that they can be financed and distributed on a larger scale.

"We have chosen the agriculture sector and objectives for this project are to try and improve first and for most the living conditions of rural communities, to try and inspire others to take interest in agriculture," said Patricia Guilaine Ndomby, a participant from Gabon.

"My project is the production of sweets and juice, made from the baobab fruit. It s a product that is well known all over the continent, everyone knows it in Africa. It's very simple, for me it's about trying to help women become more financially independent by selling these products," said another participant Aissa Omar Mango, from Niger.

Participants recommendations at the end of the conference will be forwarded at Rio +20.