The German Development Co-operation (GIZ) has pledged to provide funds to finance youth development projects across the East African Community. Dr. Kirsten Focken, the GIZ programmes manager in Tanzania, said youth should submit their concepts for funding consideration.
She revealed that since 2016, the organization has so far provided over $1m to various projects proposed by different stakeholders in East Africa, through technical and financial support. This was contained in a statement for 150 youth leaders attending a five-day youth leadership summit 2018.
The summit, which took place at MS Training Centre for Development Co-operation (MS TCDC) in Arusha, Tanzania, was organized by East Africa Community (EAC) secretariat in collaboration with MS TCDC and funded by GIZ for the second consecutive time with a hope that it would deliver new insights, perspectives and create valuable connections.
The summit was attended by youth leaders from Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi. The statement was released by Duncan Karari, the communications manager for GIZ-Support to EAC Integration Process and distributed to youth representatives and journalists at the function.
According to Focken, GIZ and EAC in 2016 created what is termed the ‘Incubator for Integration and Development in East Africa, which she said provided a new approach, where youth can access funding for innovative projects.
Focken urged the EAC to accelerate the implementation of important policies, which she said would allow people to move easily in the region, trade in goods and services or exchange ideas. Ending extreme poverty by 2030 and raising the general standards of living in East Africa require a stronger youth voice and participation in EAC processes, she argued.
“Leaders have a real opportunity to make a difference and transform East Africa into an industrial upper income region through improving the key determinant of the region’s competitiveness, which is its human talent – the skills, knowledge and experience of its youth,” the statement read.
The youth movement, according to Focken, has failed to have a bigger impact on EAC integration process, mainly because of ‘a lack of an organized structure that can collect the views and opinions of the youth regularly, lack of a self-financing model for its activities and weak leadership succession plan.