FORMER Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has challenged African leaders to mobilise local resources in boosting education on the continent.
Dr Kikwete urged the leaders across the continent to cut down donor dependency and shift focus on domestic funding.
“Donors are contributing but we need to also start mobilising funds for our children,” said Dr Kikwete.
He added: “We need to build education systems that work for everyone.”
The former President, who was gracing the 5th YouLead Summit 2021 here yesterday, expressed concern on the number of African children locked out of schools for failure to raise school fees.
“It is appalling to note that out of 260 million children that are out of schools globally, 100 million are from Africa…we should ensure that no child is left out on quality education he or she deserves,” stressed Dr Kikwete, who also chairs the Global Partnership for Education.
The former President also warned that the young generation on the continent risk getting locked out of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) if they weren’t educated.
“Some could end up becoming cattle herders and some peasant farmers,” he observed.
Dr Kikwete equally commended Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for championing domestic funding for education.
In the same vein, Dr Kikwete challenged African governments to wake up to the realities of the 21st century and start engaging the youth in decision making.
He called on African leaders to proactively engage them and not just take the youth as tokens for decorations.
According to Dr Kikwete, meaningful youth engagement among the youth entails that they were consulted and informed and sit at decision making tables.
“It would also mean that you’re entrusted with decision making and get held accountable when you fail,” counselled the former President, who is also the YouthLead patron.
Recalling his political heydays when he rose through ranks at young age, Dr Kikwete advised the youth not to be in a hurry of getting rich, instead work hard to earn a decent living.
Earlier, the EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki heaped praise on the retired President for championing youth issues even at retirement.
Dr Mathuki further pledged to make the youth agenda a priority at the EAC Secretariat, urging the young generation to seize the opportunities at their disposal.
“Let’s step out of our comfort zones and take advantage of the available opportunities,” he said.
Over 60 per cent of the African population is under the age of 25, while 65 per cent of EAC population comprises people of below 30 years.
The EAC’s maiden age currently stands at 18 years.
Themed The Future of Africa, Creating Jobs, Feeding and Housing the World’s Youngest Continent, the summit has grown to become a pan African continent from a forum that was once hosted by the six EAC partner states.
This year’s summit offered Africa’s largest hybrid convening experience by bringing physical audiences in different African capitals together via a virtual convening platform.