Investment in Africa’s Youth Capital: Fostering a New Generation of Leaders and Professionals

In a lead up to TICAD 7 held in Yokohama in August 2019, UNDP had started to convene a monthly gathering, “AFRI CONVERSE”, to galvanize discussion on African development and TICAD as well as to promote networking among stakeholders. We have started a new series with JICA to prepare for TICAD 9 in 2025.

August 17, 2023
Event Details

23 August 2023

10:00 am - 12:00 pm (EAT)


Africa's economic potential is significant due to its abundant resources and population growth rate. However, the economy's heavy reliance on agriculture, as indicated by the worker ratio, suggests that this potential remains under-utilised. In 2023, approximately half of the employed population will consist of agricultural workers, a decline from the 1990s average of 58%. This transition has been slower compared to other regions, particularly the Asia-Pacific area, which achieved a similar shift in almost half the time. The dominance of primary industries like agriculture and mining, coupled with volatile price fluctuations, makes livelihoods vulnerable to weather and global trends. Africa's imperative lies in economic diversification and the pivotal role of human resources to drive robust, sustainable growth.

This scenario presents an untapped opportunity within Africa's youth population. Globally, youth unemployment is over three times more prevalent than among adults. In Africa, while youth unemployment remains below the global average for both genders, significant disparities persist across the region. These discrepancies underline the need to consider employment quality, as many engage in low-productivity jobs out of necessity. As Africa holds the world's youngest population, the potential demographic dividend is vast, contingent on equipping youth with relevant skills and ensuring productive employment opportunities. Amid recent economic setbacks, creating jobs for young people emerges as a priority for regional recovery, facilitating a shift towards resilience and sustainability.

Investments in youth talent are crucial for the continent's development trajectory and for increasing Global South and African ownership over the path ahead. The G7's acknowledgment of the need for greater African representation in global discussions highlights this imperative. The ABE initiative by JICA and the African Young Women Leaders Fellowship Program by UNDP exemplify efforts aimed at cultivating highly skilled professionals who will contribute to industries and societal progress across African nations. Japan's commitment to "investment in people" and "quality growth," demonstrated in TICAD 8, aligns with these initiatives. JICA's ABE initiative, started in 2014, supports African youth to pursue master's degrees in Japan and build connections with Japanese businesses. UNDP's African Young Women Leaders Fellowship Programme empowers African women through job opportunities and training, aligning with the UN's SDGs and Agenda 2063.

The session explores the developmental outlook for Africa, emphasising investments in youth talent. Esteemed panelists will discuss opportunities, gaps, and potential collaborations to foster growth and leadership development among African youth. This dialogue aims to foster a transformative shift and catalyze a generation of leaders driving Africa's sustainable development.


  • Ahunna Eziakonwa, ASG/Regional Bureau Director for Africa, UNDP

  • Toshiyuki Nakamura, Special Advisor to the President of JICA (online)

  • Izuru Kimura, Director General, Kansai Center, JICA

  • Chihiro Hosokawa, Manager at Pasona Group, Head of Awaji Youth Federation

  • Kudakwashe Chingono, Coordination Analyst, UNDP AfYWL Programme (online)

  • Delphine Mukahirwa, ABE Initiative Participant studying at Kobe Institute of Computing


Tomoyuki Naito, Vice President and Professor, Graduate School of Information Technology, Kobe Institute of Computing


Event title: AFRI CONVERSE 2023 #3 Investment in Africa’s Youth Capital: Fostering a New Generation of Leaders and Professionals

Date & Time: Wednesday 23rd August 2023, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm (EAT)

  • 10:00~10:03 Opening, Introduction

  • 10:03~10:17 Keynote Presentation

  • 10:17~11:50 Panel Discussion

  • 11:50~12:00   Closing

  • 12:00〜1:00   Networking Session (In-person participants only)

Participation Options: In-Person and Online

You have the flexibility to participate either in person at the Sonic Hall, Kobe Institute of Computing (KIC), or virtually via Zoom.

- Participation: Free

-Language: English/French/Japanese (Simultaneous interpretation service available)

-Co-organizer: JICA, UNDP, KIC


 in-person registration


 Online registration




Chika Kondoh, TICAD Partnership Specialist, UNDP Tokyo Office (

Mai Tomori, Planning and TICAD Process Division, Africa Department, JICA (  )