The 29th ordinary session of the summit of the African Union (AU) heads of state and government has officially opened with calls by the AU chairperson, President Alpha Conde for the holistic management of challenges being faced by youths on the continent as they constitute 70 percent of the continent’s population.

The AU chairperson emphasized that focusing on the youths will re-assure and convince them that Africa is the best place for them.

The new AU chairperson, President Conde of Guinea who was elected in January this year replacing Idriss Deby of Chad, chaired the opening session of the 29th AU mid-term review summit.

In his opening remarks, President Conde said there is need for those in leadership positions to inculcate a sense of duty and responsibility in the youths by involving them in decision making processes.

“Africa needs an educated and developed youth that will unleash its creative genius towards nation building and development and peace and stability. We must create a conducive environment for the development of the youth for the transformation of systems and methods of government through an improved and better awareness of the continent’s developmental needs. It is imperative on us African leaders that if we don’t invest in the youth, we would have failed our duty and compromised dangerously the future of our youth. We would have condemned them to unemployment and immigration to become parasites and beggars,” he said.

President Conde’s sentiments dovetails with President Robert Mugabe’s calls for the empowerment of youths.

In his provincial youth interface meetings, President Mugabe is also highlighting the benefits of investing in the youths.

The new chairperson of the AU Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat said peace and security on the continent continue to be the great concern of the pan-African bloc.

Mr Muhamat said: “Various activities have been carried out with the launch of AU reform, while commending President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who is leading efforts of the reform, and his team for the commitment and contributions to the process. AU remains committed to strengthen efforts to deal with peace and security issues by encouraging political solutions in regions where violence still exists. The chairperson also underlined the need for Africa to speak with one voice, which he said is yet another focus by the AU Commission”.

President of the State of Palestine who is also chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), President Mahmoud Abbas said the AU is supported and we hope the partnership will continue.

Other presidents in attendance include Yoweri Museveni  of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia, Hery Rajaonarimampianina of Madagascar and Idriss Deby of Chad.