Somalia, United Nations call on youth to enhance role in political participation

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Somalia and the United Nations have called on the country’s youth to play a key role in political participation by running for political office in the upcoming elections.

Minister of Youth and Sports Hamza Said Hamza and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Adam Abdelmoula said in a joint statement issued Friday that Somalia depends on its youth-led civil society as a source of resilience.

Abdelmoula, who opened a youth conference in Mogadishu on the future of youth political participation, said the youth has led innovative solutions to drive progress for development, peace and reconciliation.

“The opportunity of Somalia as a country depends greatly on the opportunities awarded to its youth. Truly transformative change will happen only when young Somalis are invested in, included and partnered with in a meaningful way,” he said.

Abdelmoula said the political exclusion of young people results in Somalia’s missing out on the transformative ideas and energy of a competent, creative and courageous generation.

The UN official lauded the Somali Youth League and its instrumental role in the country’s fight for independence in 1943.

The conference brought together aspiring young politicians and representatives of women’s groups, people with disabilities, youth-led/focused civil society organizations, the government and international partners.

They discussed ways in which young Somali women and men can overcome challenges they face at the institutional, structural and individual levels, and seek ways to strengthen their political participation, enhancing youth civic spaces and holding decision-makers accountable.

“This forum is a good beginning. I urge you to share the resolutions and action points reached here with the Government and various ministries so that the youth agenda is part of the national agenda,” Hamza said.

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