Carrying Forward the Momentum of the 2017 African Union Year of Youth

This paper reflects on the African Union’s (AU) 2017 theme, ‘Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investments in Youth.’ Although there has been a focus on youth-related issues in 2017 there is a need to critically examine the gains and challenges the AU faced in meeting this objective during 2017. The African Youth Charter (AYC), plan of action and roadmap are some of the key guiding frameworks that have steered this theme. This paper argues that while youth empowerment frameworks and noticeable initiatives exist, there are shortfalls in the implementation and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of meaningful youth participation. There is also a need for the harmonisation of existing regional instruments into state policy to achieve significant change.