Accord in partnership with the African Union (AU) Office of the Youth Envoy OYE) Global Peace convened a virtual Inter-Generational Dialogue (IGD) in Gabon under the theme “Silencing the Guns” (STG). The IGD was held on the 25th of August, 2020.
The panellists for the IGD were Serge Maurice Pambou, Thierry Fresnal Mamboundou, Jerry Bibang Bi Ondo, Geoffroy Foumboula Libeka Makosso, Pepecy Ogouliguende, Boutsi Engouma Yolanine Marie-Charlotte, Andtoungou Claude and Frederic Ndounda. The dialogue discussed issues relating to the dynamics and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and how the youth can be part of the STG initiative.
The panellist discussed that there needs to be a change in public opinion about the youth and that youth need to be given a place at the table. Health care systems and education need greater development in order to increase confidence levels. In terms of COVID-19, the panellists believe the pandemic has shown that co-operation is imperative and political mechanisms need to be developed that will unite countries. COVID-19 has also affected structures that exacerbate conflict such as an increase in the level of poverty and obstacles to youth progression.
For greater youth progression it is recommended that the education system be improved, more youth need to be involved in issues of governance and management of resources and more investment in the capabilities and capacities of the youth is required to create sustainable development in Gabon. In addition, the recommendation was made that a youth led organisation within the government of Gabon be formed in order to create a platform for youth voices to be heard. There was also a call for more intergenerational dialogues in order to establish different points of view.
The panellist emphasised the need to Africa to take ownership of its trajectory, especially on the issue of silencing the guns by building local capacities for peace. The issue of silencing the guns must not be seen as just a political issue but also as a social issue, as such, the solution will come when confronting all issues faced by society. It is recommended that for greater youth involvement in STG negative perceptions of the youth need to be addressed. A conflict free Africa requires African states to find solutions to their own problems. The power to solve problems in Africa must not be given to the international community but must rather reside with African states. Pan-Africanism thus needs to be embraced as it opens the door for dialogue and facilitates African solutions to African problems.
This Gabon IGD is in line with ACCORD’s strategic objective to strengthen the capacities of youth to participate in peace and security initiatives.