African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI)

Programme description

Title: African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Member States of the African Union (AU); pilot countries of Benin, South Africa, Tanzania
Lead executing agency: African Union Commission (AUC)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020

Context

Africa is the world’s ‘youngest’ continent. Around 70 per cent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 30. Young people are key actors in shaping the continent’s sustainable political, social, economic and environmental development. Until now, the majority of young men and women have not had access to high-quality skills-based (vocational) training or employment to make a living and have been excluded from social and economic participation.

In their Agenda 2063, the Member States of the African Union (AU) set themselves the goal of creating better access to education, training and capacity development, employment and economic opportunities, and to recreational and cultural activities for Africa’s young people.

Education-based youth exchanges and volunteer services can help young people in broadening their personal horizons and acquiring life and employment-related skills. Youth exchange in the context of education for sustainable development, coupled with the goal of promoting youth civic engagement, provides an opportunity for young people to participate in sustainable development processes. However, exchange between young Africans and Germans often takes place in contexts of structural and economic inequality. So far young Africans have had few opportunities to gain experience through mobility, exchange or volunteer programmes in Germany or other African countries.

Dialogue and strategies for broad-based youth exchange and volunteer programmes that promote skills are still in their infancy in Africa. Conditions are not yet conducive for African partners and young people to play an equal role in shaping African-German youth exchange and volunteer programmes for sustainable development.

Objective

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

Approach

The African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI) is being implemented in Germany and in African countries. Engagement Global is coordinating the development of the Initiative, which will enable youth exchange programmes between African countries and Germany to take place in a spirit of partnership. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ helps boost resources, capability and performance within partner structures. The project, based in Addis Ababa, operates at a pan-African level but will initially be implemented in the three pilot countries of Benin, South Africa, Tanzania. It is aligned with the AU’s Agenda 2063, the African Youth Charter (2006), the African Youth Decade, 2009-2018 Plan of Action (DPoA), and the national youth strategies of the pilot countries.

The project’s advisory services reinforce the technical skills and the planning and management capacities of the AUC’s Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology and of the three civil society organisations responsible for implementation in the pilot countries.

The project operates in three interrelated fields of activity:

  1. Extending the offer of pan-African volunteer services and youth exchange programmes that promote skills development.
  2. Strengthening technical skills together with planning and management capacities in the implementing organisations in the three pilot countries in order to support African-German, as well as trilateral and multilateral volunteer and youth exchange programmes that promote skills development, and to encourage participation and networking.
  3. Networking between African and German partners for volunteer services and youth exchange.

Through youth exchange programmes, volunteer services and alumni activities with a focus on development policy, AGYI supports young men and women in realising their potential and in participating in social and political development processes.

Another focus is on promoting innovative ideas for exchange, volunteer services and social engagement. A recently established innovation fund will provide alumni, sending organisations and other stakeholders with the opportunity to implement creative approaches. The most effective learning experiences will be disseminated at pan-African level.