African-German Youth Initiative

Programme description

Title: African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Member States of the African Union; pilot countries: Benin, South Africa, Tanzania
Lead executing agency: African Union Commission
Overall term: 2017 to 2019


Africa is the world’s youngest continent. About 70 per cent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 30. Young people are key actors in shaping the sustainable political, social, economic and environmental development on the African continent. However, a large proportion of young men and women do not yet have access to high-quality, competence-oriented vocational education or employment opportunities to provide them with a living. Young people are therefore often excluded from social and economic participation.

In their Agenda 2063, the African Union (AU) Member States have set themselves the goal of providing Africa's youth with better access to education, training and skills development, to employment and economic opportunities, and to leisure and cultural activities.

Educational youth exchanges and volunteer schemes can help young people to expand their personal horizons and acquire life and employment skills, while participating in sustainable development processes. However, exchanges between young African and Germans have often taken place contexts of structural and economic inequality.

Across the continent, dialogue and strategies for youth exchanges and volunteering programmes that promote skills and have a broad-reaching impact are as yet underdeveloped. Conducive conditions are not yet in place for African partners and young people to participate equitably in shaping African-German youth exchanges and volunteer services for sustainable development.


Conditions have improved for African partners and young people to play an equal role in designing African and German youth exchange programmes and volunteer services in the context of sustainable development.


The African-German Youth Initiative takes place in both Germany and Africa. Engagement Global is coordinating the development of the Initiative, which will enable youth exchanges to take place in a spirit of partnership between African countries and Germany. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, GIZ is working to strengthen the resources, competences and performance of the partner structures. The project, based in Addis Ababa, operates both at a pan-African level and, initially, in the three pilot countries of Benin, South Africa and Tanzania. It is oriented on the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the African Youth Charter (2006) and the African Youth Decade 2009-2018 Plan of Action, as well as the national youth strategies of the pilot countries.

The project’s advisory services are intended to improve the professional skills as well as the planning and management capacities of the Human Resources, Science and Technology department of the AU Commission, and of the three civil-society organisations tasked with implementation in the pilot countries.

The project operates in three interrelated areas:

  1. Expanding the availability of pan-African skills-promoting volunteer services and youth exchanges
  2. Developing the technical, planning and management capacities of the implementing organisations in three pilot countries, in order to support African-German, as well as trilateral and multilateral volunteer services and youth exchanges that promote skills, and to encourage participation and networking.
  3. Networking of African and German partners in the area of volunteer services and youth exchange.

Through youth exchange projects, volunteer services and alumni activities with a focus on sustainable development, the AGYI supports young women and men in developing their potentials, and in participating in political and social development processes.