Youth development topped the agenda as the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ruhakana Rugunda, met with Secretary-General Patricia Scotland in Kampala, ahead of the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting.
The pair exchanged views on how countries can overcome the challenge of youth unemployment and unleash young people’s entrepreneurial spirit to contribute to national development and economic prosperity.
The PM stressed the importance of equipping young people with skills and creating jobs, as he reflected on the opportunities presented by the upcoming summit, the theme of which is ‘Resourcing and Financing Youth Development: Empowering Young People’.
“Young people are a great asset: knowledgeable and with skills to transform Uganda into a middle income country,” Rugunda said at a press conference following their bilateral meeting.
“The Government of Uganda is happy to host the Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting and we thank the Secretary General for the good work she is doing.”
Delegates from more than 30 countries have started arriving in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, for the ministerial meeting which is accompanied by a youth leaders forum and a stakeholders forum.
The summit runs from 31 July to 4 August.
During their meeting, the Secretary-General and the Prime Minister discussed the Commonwealth Secretariat’s youth development programme and the need to empower young people and women through initiatives that encourage entrepreneurialism.
“Young people are our richest asset. To make sure we take advantage of that asset we have to look at how we can enable young people to realise their talents, to support their innovation, their initiative and their creativity. All of this is going to be discussed at the Youth Ministers Meeting here in Uganda,” said the Secretary-General.
In addition, the two Commonwealth leaders spoke of the threat of desertification to countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Secretariat’s new regenerative development approach to reverse the impacts of climate change. The new services offered to Commonwealth member countries by the launch of the Secretariat’s Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform were also discussed.
In her remarks, Secretary-General Scotland, who presented the PM with a signed copy of the Commonwealth Charter, expressed her gratitude to the Government of Uganda for hosting next week’s conference. “I am very proud to have Uganda’s whole support and would like to thank the Prime Minister for his graciousness,” she said.
“I commit us – the Commonwealth Secretariat and myself as Secretary-General – to work hand in glove with Uganda so that we won’t just be talking about these developments, we will be delivering together, so there is a practical benefit for the people of Uganda and the whole Commonwealth.”
Later on Friday evening, the first ever Commonwealth Youth Ministers Cup was held at Nelson Mandela stadium in the capital city.
The youth football tournament saw a young team from local school Standard High beat rivals Saint Mary’s New Hope on penalties.
The cup winner’s trophy was awarded by the Commonwealth Secretary-General. The event was organised by Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, Minister for Youth and Child Affairs.