Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa-COMESA- Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe says the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased youth unemployment in the COMESA region while at the same time limiting movements for those involved in business and commercial activities.
Ms. Kapwepwe said it was unfortunate that the pandemic had disrupted economic and trade activities by the youth that also contribute to the growth of national economies.
She said this during a virtual meeting hosted by the African Union Office of the Youth Envoy on Youth Consultations on COVID -19.
Ms. Kapwepwe said COMESA would hold virtual workshops for continuous youth engagements and support innovations that could enhance digital solutions in the COVID-19 era.
She has since called on COMESA member states to invest in building strong institutions of governance that will enhance youth participation in national development.
And speaking earlier, Former President of the Republic of Malawi, Mrs. Joyce Banda urged countries not to neglect other pressing challenges such as maternal health and poverty, as their leaders seek ways to find solutions for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said as countries focus on the pandemic they should not lose sight of other challenges that the continent was faced with.
And humanitarian activist, Gracia Machel said the post-COVID-19 agenda must not be structured without the involvement of the youth.
She expressed concern the pandemic had a triple effect on the youths who not only had lost jobs but whose education and training has been disrupted too due to the pandemic.
She said many African countries had no technological capacity to offer e-learning to its citizenry.
Former President for the Republic of Ireland Mary Robinson said countries must align their fight against COVID 19 to climate change as the impacts of climate change had not slowed down because of the pandemic.
And African Peer Review Mechanism-APRM-Chief Executive Officer Professor Eddy Maloka urged countries not to limit participation in governance by stakeholders due to the COVID Pandemic.