Malawi’s First Lady Gertrude Mutharika has said that African youths have potential of developing the continent if they can be offered opportunities to take part in various development areas.
Madam Mutharika made the remarks in Nairobi, Kenya where she was invited to make a keynote at a youth conference whose theme is ‘Towards Healthier Africa; People, Systems and Innovations.’
The conference that has been organized by the Africa Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) is aimed at bringing together researchers, policymakers, practitioners, the private sector, advocates for health and civil society together to reflect on home-grown solutions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals across the continent.
The conference will also be used as a platform for sharing scientific research findings and best practices addressing health and health systems on the continent.
Speaking when she made her keynote address to almost 200 young people from across Africa, the First Lady said Africa has a collective responsibility to empower the youth and support them to become active participants in the development of our continent.
“For a long time, we have sidelined the youth, and we have not given them enough space to unleash their potential. We need to take action around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the benefit of our young people,” she said.
“As we are aware, at least 10 out of the 17 SDGs relate directly to the youth. The global development agenda is tilted in favour of the youth. We therefore have no excuse not to put the youth at the centre of our national development agenda,” added the First Lady.
Mutharika said that the conference gives an opportunity for the youth to brainstorm on innovative ideas which they can use to promote their livelihood, realise new ways of promoting their health and economic development.
“Young people need jobs; they deserve decent and meaningful employment opportunities. Many young people today are using social media for various purposes,” she said.
At the conference, Malawi is being represented by three young people one of whom is Francis Makiya from College of Medicine who expressed happiness at being among his fellow youth and said he was looking forward to learning a lot from his colleagues.