The foundation of the African Union (AU) in 2002 was a milestone on the path to a more peaceful and prosperous African continent. Moving forward from the mandate of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to liberate the continent from colonialism, the AU pursues the transformation of the continent to a peaceful, democratic and prosperous actor within the next 50 years as outlined in its Agenda 2063. However, the challenges to implementation of continental AU resolutions at the national level has negative implications on the African people as well as the acceptance and recognition of the AU itself as a strong and capable institution.
The Agenda 2063 sets very high political, economic and social targets for the AUC and member states, inspired by future development and innovations. Driving this agenda requires strong leadership and guidance of the AU; it also requires strong leadership capacities for implementation at member states levels. This is particularly important as the current youth population on the continent will translate into the future leadership of the continent and the AU. There is recognition, in Africa and globally, that investing in young people and empowering them for leadership and effective civic engagement, can contribute positively to the achievement of development outcomes set in Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 on the Sustainable Development Goals. Both Agendas recognise the critical agency of young people and emphasise inclusivity and broad participation as well as the principle of leaving no-one behind. The AUC Youth Engagement strategy seeks to strengthen the relationship between African youth and the AUC, as well as encourage young people's ownership of the development of the continent towards the realisation of Agenda 2063.
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