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Dr. Mayaki’s Youth Day message.

By Benita Nsabua
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Thirty five years ago, discontent with their educational system and other social evils of apartheid, a group of youth with confidence, boldness and determination revolted against the system, as the only way to make their voices heard and consequently bring about a positive change. These youths recognized that their future destiny rested squarely in their hands, and in spite of the overwhelming odds against them and their existing circumstances, they could alter the direction of their future and bring about meaningful change that will result in true emancipation. These events and several others were the trailblazers for the removal of the apartheid system and the creation of a democratic South Africa that we have today.

As we celebrate this day, let us take this opportunity to reflect on the boldness, courage and determination of the youths of Soweto 35 years ago vis-à-vis the current youthful generation of our continent today. The boldness, courage and determination of our youths to make a difference and to steer this continent in the right direction that will ensure sustainable development, should and must be part of our collective assignment in actualizing the vision of NEPAD. This is more compelling, in view of the fact that Africa has the most youthful population, and this continental differential advantage in terms of development must be fully exploited.

Recognizing that NEPAD was born in the spirit of the African renaissance, with renewed hope of optimism at the dawn of the new millennium as a blueprint for Africa's development into the twenty-first century, the NPCA is therefore very instrumental in ensuring that Africa's youths do in fact embrace the NEPAD vision and actively participate in its programs and projects. In this regard, it is important to be cognizant of the roles of our youths as we plan, develop and implement all our programs and projects. The sustainability of these programs and projects do not only heavily rely on the support of our youths, but most importantly, without the youths, the realignment and re-engineering of these programs and projects to meet Africa's future challenges cannot be attained.

Therefore, as we celebrate this day against the backdrop of NEPAD's 10th year anniversary, let us seriously reflect on new approaches and methods to effectively engage the youths in all our programs and projects, so that they could become the future drivers and provide more innovative and creative ways to enrich them and make them responsive and effective to Africa's future challenges. The future of our continent rest on our youths, and Africa's future development will depend on their ability to lead, govern, and most importantly, to sustain and create the requisite institutions for Africa's development. I believe that the NPCA is best positioned to ensure that Africa's youth are indeed part of Africa's future development.

I wish you a happy and a very pleasant day-off.
Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki
Chief Executive Officer