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Youth in Rwanda are demanding for space on dialogue platforms to offer views on meaningful regional integration.

During a national youth symposium organised by Governance For Africa that took place on Thursday at Hiltop Hotel, youth representatives from across the country were engaged in discussions on how best to play their role in seeing the East Africa Community become fully integrated.

All participants concurred that the East African Community is still dragging it’s feet in regard to commitment made by its leaders on ensuring that citizens of the bloc enjoy shared economic prosperity.


“I pray, I hope and I believe in the regional social-economic transformation. We want to have the same pace of development in economic, social and political spheres,” says Jackson Musinguzi, a university student at Kigali Inststitute of Management.

Musinguzi, like many of his colleagues who attended the symposium, stressed the need for the youth to play a role in the process of regional integration.

“I believe it is attainable when, we the youth, are allowed to engage in whatever it takes to achieve the transformation and the pace we are aiming at,” Musinguzi said.

Devine Gakwaya, a student from the University of Rwanda, says that the youth indeed have a role to play.

“I know everyone is unique and everyone has an idea to to contribute. We have a role to play as the youth and we need to be give a platform so that we get to share our contribution,” Gakwaya said.

Cyrus Nkusi, the CEO of Governance For Africa, who was part of the panel that engaged the youth in the dialogue, said that the youth need to be heard and given explanations on the benefits and challenges of regional integration.

He said that throughout the integration process, youth have not been heard enough yet they are heavily affected by decisions made by regional leaders.

“We need to forge this purpose together and this platform was all about preparing and explaining to them about the role they can play as we seek more engagement at a regional level,” he said.

On her part, Maryanne Njoki, a consultant as MS Danish Training for Development Cooperation in Kenya, the youth have questions particularly on how policies can benefit them.

“I think the youth now understand the integration process and they want to attend a regional summit and participate in talks, they are now empowered to engage,” she said.

Some of the concerns they outlined that they believe should be given attention include economic barriers, trade agreements, free movement of goods and services, free movement of people and political commitment by regional leaders.

They believe leaders are still paying a lip-service yet those at the bottom of the pyramid are affected directly.

A regional summit is scheduled next month in Nairobi, Kenya and they believe some the above concerns will be tackled.

A Glimpse of 2017 Summit

#Youlead17 Experience

Hon. Upendo Peneza | Member of Parliament Tanzania

Seeing many young people come together when they are united by a common goal which isn't going to club to dance but leadership and sharing really touched my heart and I was inspired to inspire more young leaders to shape the future of East Africa and Africa

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My leadership is majorly about using art to socially transform lives and communities. From Youlead Summit 2017, I learned that leadership is much about giving a hand to improve lives of communities and its measured by how many people you have changed to reach their full potentia

Ekyasimire Caroline | Founder & CEO Apps & Girls

All we need is to give back to communities, giving back doesn't necessarily mean it should be money, it can be knowledge or skills, everything given back to community uplifts millions and those you uplift will lift you higher