Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday emphasized that young people will play an active role in overcoming the challenges surrounding the Arab and African countries to build the future.
Sisi’s remarks came during the opening ceremony of the first edition of the Arab African Youth Platform in Aswan governorate in Upper Egypt.
“Everyone is aware of the challenges faced by humanity and the unprecedented spread of conflicts that have caused devastation and destruction,” he said.
Refugees have become a common problem and the cries of children and mourners have become part of daily lives, Sisi added.
He said that the region is burdened by the current conflicts which are almost engulfing its future and erasing its past, stressing that the Arab region and the African continent “have the largest share of this destruction.”
“In Egypt, we have put our youths as a priority to provide care and support them for a better future for the continent,” Sisi said.
The president added that “we have succeeded in creating a common space where we meet and manage our differences in a civilized manner and achieve effective and continuous communication.”
Sisi also called for a minute of silence for the victims of the attacks in New Zealand in which four Egyptians were killed.
“We are against all violence and terrorism,” Sisi said.
Meanwhile, AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki said in his speech at the opening ceremony that Arab and African youths face the same challenges such as the danger of migration and terrorism.
Faki praised Egypt for organizing the forum, adding that it is an important event to unite the youths of the continent and open a channel for dialogue to discuss their aspirations and visions on various issues.
He stressed that such forums are important as they alleviate the challenges facing the people of the African continent and contribute significantly to the realization of their ambitions and hopes.
During the events of the platform, which will conclude on Monday, 1,500 youths from various Arab and African countries will discuss the future of scientific research and healthcare, as well as the impact of advanced technology and innovation on Africa and the Arab region.
The platform will also hold various sessions, workshops, and roundtable seminars, with the goal of bridging the gap between “young promising leaders and top policy and decision makers.”
The event was first initiated by President Sisi during the closing session of the second edition of the World Youth Forum that took place in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh city in November last year.
The platform comes weeks after Egypt’s Sisi took over the AU presidency from his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame. It is the first time that Egypt is elected AU chair since the launch of the African bloc in 2002.