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Thousands convene in Kigali for Youth Conneckt Africa summit

Thousands of young people from across the continent are in Kigali for the 2019 Youth Conneckt Africa summit which opens at the Kigali Arena on Wednesday.

The continental summit, first held in 2017, was conceptualised from the Rwandan version of the annual summit launched in 2012.

The summit is expected to feature over 100  speakers who include leading professionals from policy influencers, political and industry leaders, to public, private and development sector youth champions.

According to the organisers, the agenda will cover key issues affecting young people including creating jobs for Africa, turning passion into profit and bridging the gender divide.

Other subjects on the agenda include the digital economy and opportunities therein and opportunities in the agriculture sector.

The summit will also feature a platform for start-ups to pitch their businesses and concepts to established angel investor to access capital of up to USD 200,000. The session is dubbed ‘Face the Gorillas’.

The summit is against a target to create 10M sustainable jobs by 2020 in emerging industries and 25 million opportunities through training and enrolment in workplaces across the continent.

Youth Conneckt also aims at identifying, nurturing and grow up to one million leaders that provide solutions, participate in advocacy as well as developing sustainable initiatives  and policies that reduce gender inequality.

The summit will also take stock of progress in connecting incubation hubs across the continent and provide access to markets, innovation-friendly capital from partners and partnership opportunities with peers across the continent.

Renowned Ivorian Footballer Didier Drogba is expected to address the gathering. Previous summit have attracted renowned figures such as Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Akon and serial investor Strive Masiyiwa.

Last year’s summit convened over 3,800 participants from 90 countries and about 60 speakers. 


In 2012, The Government of Rwanda partnered with UNDP to initiate the YouthConnektprogramme that is a multifaceted youth empowerment model focused on leveraging youth employability, entrepreneurship and civic engagement through innovation with a specific mission to serve as portal of connecting youth with their peers, role models, skills and resources for their socio-economic empowerment.