The Division for Internationalisation at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), together with the Africa Institute of South Africa in the HSRC, hosted the 13th annual Africa Young Graduates and Scholars (AYGS) conference. The event took place at Auckland Park Kingsway Campus from 18 to 20 March 2019, under the theme ‘Youth Development in Africa: Challenges, Solutions and the Way Forward’.
The 2019 conference served as a platform for young scholars, policymakers, and key actors in the development sector to produce and share research-based knowledge about Africa’s developmental challenges. The occasion also explored youth development challenges in Africa based on solicited scholarly papers from emerging academics and researchers from the continent. Participants included young academics from Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“This is UJ’s most intensive and far-reaching project within the institute’s capacity-building curriculum. An explicit aim of this programme is to bridge the gap of expertise in knowledge production about African affairs by developing a society of knowledge producers among African youth,” said Lebethe Malefo, Senior Director: Internationalisation (Acting).
During the two and a half days of robust debate, special focus was placed on the participants’ awareness of, and ability to, engage with topical youth development challenges and opportunities facing the region in a scholarly manner.
The event started with an opening plenary roundtable conversation on Youth and Development and a plenary panel on Africa’s Youth Dividend, Fact or Farce? The opening plenary was followed by presentation sessions based on the sub-themes of the conference including Addressing youth unemployment through innovation- Country case studies; skills development for the youth in Africa in a globalised world; Financing youth start-up businesses for entrepreneurship and job creation in Africa- Domestic and international best practices; Mobile phone technology and Social media as tools for youth development in Africa; Mechanisms for including the youth in socioeconomic transformation and governance processes in Africa; Local, national, and regional infrastructures for peace (I4P) and youth inclusion; Young women and development in Africa and Applied Systems Analysis.
The AYGS 2019, co-hosted by UJ and AISA/HSRC also partnered with the International Science Council – Regional Office for Africa, the National Youth Development Agency, WAELE Africa, the Mandela Institute for Development Studies and the Youth Development Institute of South Africa.