AFRI CONVERSE 2024 #2 in Sophia University Youth as a “driving force” for change: Call to Act with Africa

Commemoration of Africa Day 2024

May 9, 2024
Event Details

27 May 2024

19:00 – 20:30 (JST) / 13:00 – 14:30 (EAT)


Today, there are 1.9 billion people between the ages of 10-24—they are the largest generation of youth in history. Close to 90 per cent of them live in developing countries, where they make up a large proportion of the population. Their numbers are expected to grow—between 2015 and 2030 alone, about 1.9 billion young people are projected to turn 15 years old.  Connected to each other like never before, young people want to and already contribute to the resilience of their communities, proposing innovative solutions, driving social progress and inspiring political change. Thus, young people can be a driving force for transformation of societies. At the United Nations, young people’s leadership, diversity, passion and talent have been embrased across the world. Roles for youth in advancing the Agenda 2030 have been identified as follows:

1.    Critical thinkers: Part of being young involves making sense of personal experiences and asking questions about the world. Youth have the capacity to identify and challenge existing power structures and barriers to change, and to expose contradictions and biases.
2.    Change-makers: Young people also have the power to act and mobilise others. Youth activism is on the rise the world over, bolstered by broader connectivity and access to social media.
3.    Innovators: In addition to bringing fresh perspectives, young people often have direct knowledge of and insights into issues that are not accessible to adults. Youth best understand the problems they face and can offer new ideas and alternative solutions.
4.    Communicators: Outside the international development sector, few people are aware that world leaders have come to a historic, far-reaching agreement to improve the lives of people and the planetby 2030. Young people can be partners in communicating the development agenda to their peers and communities at the local level, as well as across countries and regions.
5.    Leaders: When young people are empowered with the knowledge of their rights and equipped with leadership skills, they can drive change in their communities and countries.

As such, youth are key to identifying new solutions for the breakthroughs that the world urgently needs and can become a driving force for societal change through social mobilization - pushing for climate action, seeking racial justice, promoting gender equality and demanding dignity for all. The upcoming UN Summit of the Future in September 2024 offers a pivotal platform for youth engagement, with this recognition. 
It is with the above background and recognizing the power and transformative role which youth as the next generation leaders could play, at the juncture of 30th Anniversary of the Tokyo International Conference on Africa (TICAD), key stakeholders from Africa and Japan reaffirmed the critical importance of engaging youth from Africa and Japan in their efforts to promote sustainable future and partnership. Fostering meaningful connections and exchanges between Japanese youth and their peers in Africa can contribute to mutual learning, collaboration, and friendship, ultimately enriching the lives of young people on both sides. 
While a biased view on the continent with the negative lens still exists, number of Japanese youth who have embarked on their journey to visit, learn from, and work with Africa has been on rise. Especially engaging with Africa offers Japanese youth a rich opportunity to develop appreciation for diversity and mutual understanding, to expose themselves for innovative ideas and grassroots solutions for sustainable growth, to learn from African communties’s strong social cohesion and resilience, and to broaden global perspective with empathy and solidarity developed. 
Taking advantage of the momentum of Africa Day 2024 by the Afircan Union and associated Africa Week celebrated under the leadership of the Sohpia University in Japan, the session is organized as “youth-centric” manner and invites like-minded youth leaders to encourage their peers to follow their paths and act with Africa.  

Event Details

AFRI CONVERSE 2024 #2 in Sophia University 
Youth as a “driving force” for change: Call to Act with Africa

Date and Time:
Monday 27th May 2024
19:00 – 20:30 (JST)
13:00 – 14:30 (EAT)

Hybrid – Online via Zoom and at Sophia University, Yotsuya campus 2nd Building 17th floor

Japanese, English and French
(Simultaneous interpretation available)

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Sophia University

Admission: Free





•    19:00 – 19:05     Opening Remarks
•    19:05 – 19:10      Launching the Model African Union
•    19:10 – 19:20      Setting the Scene
•    19:20 – 19:23     Congratulatory Remarks
•    19:23 – 20:27    Panel Discussion
•    20:27 – 20:30   Closing Remarks


•    Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, UNDP (video message)
•    Hideki Makihara, Chair of the LDP TICAD Project Team, Member of the House of Representatives
•    Yuki Yasumiba, A founding member of the Asia Africa Youth Nest 
•    Kithinji Kinyua, Researcher, Sophia University, Japan Society for Afrasian Studies
•    Hanajienifuaifuonaia Saito, Student at the University of Tokyo
•    Shuhei Ueno, Deputy Director General, African Department, JICA


Hiroshi Yokoyama, CEO, Axcel Africa Consulting (Kenya)


Chika Kondoh, TICAD Partnership Specialist, UNDP Tokyo Office (