The Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA) is in high gear charting a way forward for Africa’s development via the potential demographic advantage which the youth of this continent possess. YALDA seeks to engage African youth across Africa and the diaspora to constructively interact on issues affecting African renaissance and development. From its initial i-Boot Camp in Cairo, the YALDA biennial i-Boot Camp is at its 6th edition with a strategic focus on youth engagement in addressing Africa’s developmental challenges. It is upon this backdrop, that the stage for YALDA “Africa in miniature” or YALDA Cameroon has been set to accommodate the aspirations and constructive ideas of an African continent that is constantly exploiting avenues to assert itself on a global platform. The University of Buea YALDA branch heartily expresses its readiness and unrivalled commitment to host the 2016 YALDA biennial i-Boot Camp under the theme “Fostering Regional Integration for a Prosperous Africa: Transforming Youth Potential into Opportunities across Borders”. The theme of this i-Boot Camp comes in timely as the clamour and need for regional integration is resounded as a matter of urgency across the African continent. The need to accelerate the efforts that will culminate to effective regional integration remains paramount in achieving a peaceful, prosperous and an integrated Africa.
The opportunity that comes with effective regional integration is one which African youths must capitalise upon not just as passive recipients but as active participants in the process. From the East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Arab Maghreb Union, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and other sub regional organizations, the creation of bigger markets, improved citizens’ welfare reverberate the importance of an integrated African Economic Community.
With an ever-increasing peril in peace and security, the need to defuse and address threats posed by non-state actors remains compelling. The upsurge of terrorist activities across Africa reinforces the need to engage African youth across the continent to strategise on the most progressive methods of integration. In its commitment to spread the YALDA dream and by extension Africa’s vision, the University of Buea has been at the core of engineering initiatives and forums that stimulate critical thinking geared towards innovative and practical solutions to Africa’s development challenges from the perspective of youth. In the build up towards a legendary YALDA i-Boot Camp, YALDA University of Buea (UB) has purposefully organised debates and idea generation sessions that impinge on the level and impact of regional integration in Africa. It is worth mentioning that these sessions enjoyed the active participation of YALDA delegates from the ECCAS region such as Gabon, Central Africa, and Equatorial Guinea. The multilingual approach to these forums as well as the varied but informed perspectives of delegates across Cameroon and the entire region, strongly reflect the gains that regional integration may bring to Africa’s development drive. The waves of African renaissance as well as a conscious alignment to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 have been given clarity with regards to YALDA Cameroon’s roadmap of fostering regional integration in Africa. This conference targets 250 youth across Africa to present innovative ideas that will be fashioned based on the challenges faced by the regional blocs which they belong to. The panellists will be charged with idea development and the identification of the best and most innovative ideas from different thematic areas and regional blocks.
As a country too familiar with the power of diversity, we are humbled and excited to attract our comrades from Africa to assume the stewardship of the integration process that aligns itself with the ambitious and feasible agenda 2063. We are cognizant of the progress that has been achieved in this regard so far, but pledge to make sufficient and valuable contributions towards this collective development project. We are “Africa in miniature” and look forward to have you as participant, speaker or sponsor to this collective
We all share in the Destiny of Africa and we look forward to welcoming you to Cameroon!