The Pan-African Youth Union (PYU) convened its 3rd Congress in Khartoum, Sudan from 2-5 December 2011 where the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS) was elected as the vice-president of the sub-region East Africa/Indian Ocean.
Organized under the theme “Youth Action for Economic Freedom Now”, member organizations of PYU discussed the status of youth in Africa, including the role of governments in ensuring the unity and meaningful transformation of the continent. Delegates of the congress deplored ongoing poverty and unemployment being witnessed all over the continent despite the fact that Africa is the richest continent when it comes to natural and human resources. Calling for economic freedom for all countries in Africa, delegates of the congress made recommendations for possible mechanisms to ensure youth participation in Africa’s mainstream economy, possible accountability mechanisms at regional and national levels that can be used to ensure the safeguarding of the economic interests of Africa and its youth, as well as making a practical link between the Africa Youth Charter and youth economic participation.
One of the major tasks that will confront the new leadership of the PYU is ensuring that the AU, governments and Heads of States in the continent go beyond making commitments on youth development, to effectively ensuring that meaningful change is effected in the lives of young people.
During the Congress, South Africa was elected as PYU President while Mali was elected into the position of Secretary General. The Vice-presidents and deputy secretary generals elected for each sub-region of the PYU were as follows:
·Southern Africa Sub-Region: Namibia for Vice-President, Zimbabwe for Deputy Secretary General
·West Africa Sub-Region: Senegal for Vice-President, Nigeria for Deputy Secretary General
·East Africa Sub Region: Eritrea for Vice president, South Sudan for Deputy Secretary General
·North Africa Sub Region: Egypt for Vice President , Libya for Deputy Secretary General
·Central Africa Sub Region: Gabon for Vice President , Congo for Deputy Secretary General
The final declaration of the 3rd PYU congress clearly states its displeasure on the baseless sanctions imposed on Eritrea by the UN Security Council because they negatively affect the living conditions of the populace and further undermine development efforts.
PYU is a continental platform for youth and serves as a conduit for fostering unity of purpose among young people in Africa. PYU plays the role of a specialized agency of the African Union in the field of youth for which it enjoys consultative status. Moreover, PYU works to support and reinforce the values and ideals of the African Union mainly in fostering unity, peace, democracy, sustained development and African integration.
It should be recalled that in November 2011, NUEYS had been elected into the General Council and as the Africa regional coordinator for the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY). Regional coordinators have the status of vice-president and work from the region as liaison officers between the Coordinating Council and member organizations in their respective region.