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If the future belongs to youth, this is particularly the case when it comes to our relations with the African continent, the continent with the highest proportion of youngsters. Heads of state and government from the European Union member states and African Union (AU) countries gather regularly to discuss our common challenges and shared solutions. This year, the Summit will focus on "Investing in Youth for a Sustainable Future". Ensuring that the younger generation plays a meaningful role in this exchange is – logically – a priority.
The AU-EU "Youth Plug-In Initiative" is the first of its kind to encourage young influencers to find innovative solutions on six key topics impacting youth on both continents, which will be discussed at the Summit: business; job creation and entrepreneurship; culture, sports and arts; education and skills; environmental preservation and climate change; governance, political and democratic inclusion and activism; peace and security. The six topics were identified as priorities at the 4th Africa-Europe Youth Summit which took place in Abidjan on 9-11 October.
The 36 Youth Fellows, selected from over 7500 applications, will gather today in Addis Ababa to follow-up on the outcome of the Youth Summit and prepare the leaders' Summit. Over the coming days, they will meet African Union officials, stakeholders and experts and gain more knowledge of the African Union. Then, they will travel to Europe for similar meetings. Based on their exchanges, they will work together to elaborate concrete proposals for a "Youth Agenda", which together with the "Abidjan Youth Declaration" will be presented to European and African leaders on 29-30 November.